Steinway and Sons, an American company since 1853, produces some of the world's finest concert and personal pianos. Many concert pianists and piano enthusiasts consider Steinway pianos the equivalent of Stradivarius violins in terms of craftsmanship and musical quality. Though the Steinway piano name is widely recognized throughout the world, few know much if any of the compelling information concerning the company's history or the piano's construction.
Upon emigrating to the United States, Engelhard Steinweg founded the company that would eventually produce Steinway pianos. In 1853, Steinweg Americanized his name to "Henry Steinway," the same year he founded Steinway and Sons with three of his sons. Steinway's decision to change his name was based on the success of one of his main competitors, Broadway pianos. He reasoned that an American-sounding name might help his company succeed. The first president to own a Steinway and Sons in the White House was Andrew Johnson. Since President Johnson, four other presidents have either personally owned or requisitioned a Steinway for the White House.
Average Size and Construction
The average Steinway piano is constructed of more than 7,500 parts that are glued together. Each average-sized Steinway piano has about 230 strings, each with approximately 165 lbs. of pressure, equating to an average of 18 tons of pressure for each Steinway piano.
Concert Grand Piano Size and Construction
Steinway concert grand pianos are constructed out of more than 12,000 pieces that are glued together. The strings of a Steinway concert grand piano tend to be under about 260 lbs. of pressure, equating to an average of about 30 tons of pressure for each Steinway concert grand piano.
Cost and Value
Most Steinway pianos take about one year to handcraft and construct in a factory in either Astoria, New York, or Hamburg, Germany, making them quite expensive. Collectors consider them an appreciating asset, however, as their value increases by an average of four-and-a-half times every 20 years. Though expensive, they are the preferred concert piano of more than 1,400 concert pianists throughout the world.
- Steinway and Sons: The History
- "Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand"; James Barron; 2007
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