STEINWAY & SONS - NEW YORK
Steinway & Sons was founded in the USA 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway.
Henry was a master cabinet maker who built his first piano, Model no. 1, in the kitchen of his German home in 1836. This piano was at the time amongst the largest Grand pianos ever built. By the time Henry established Steinway & Sons, he had built 482 pianos.
The first piano produced by the company, number 483, was sold to a New York family for $500, and is now displayed at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Over the next forty years, Henry and his sons developed the modern piano. Almost half of the company's 114 patents for constructive innovations were developed during this period, including the cross stringing technique developed by Henry in 1859. Many of these late nineteenth-century inventions were based on emerging scientific research, including the acoustical theories of the renowned physicist Hermann von Helmholtz, and all helped determine the shape and construction of the classic grand piano.
Steinway's revolutionary designs and superior workmanship began receiving national recognition almost immediately. From 1855 onwards, Steinway pianos received gold medals at several U.S. and European exhibitions.
The company gained international recognition in 1867 at the Paris Exposition Universelle when it was awarded the prestigious 'Médaille d'or grande d'honneur' for excellence in manufacturing and engineering. It was the first time an American company had received this award.
Steinway pianos quickly became the piano of choice for many members of royalty and won the respect and admiration of the world's great pianists. They were recognised to their quality, building their pianos one at a time, applying skills that were handed down from master to apprentice, generation after generation.
In 1871, Henry Sr. died, and his sons C.F. Theodore and William took over operations. An accomplished pianist, C.F. Theodore was responsible for the technical aspects of piano making and personally earned the company 41 patents, including one in 1875 for the modern concert grand piano.
Ratcliffe, Ronald V., Steinway, San Francisco, 2002.
Theodore Steinway, People and Pianos: A Pictorial History of Steinway & Sons , Amadeus, 2005.
Richard K. Lieberman, Steinway and Sons, Yale University Press, 1997.
Crombie, David, Piano: Evolution Design and Performance, Baflon, London 1995.