The Greatest Piano Makers
Without a doubt, the best known piano brand is Steinway, also known as Steinway and Sons. Steinway Pianos have the most storied legacy and history around and are used by an overwhelming majority of concert pianists. The touch and feel of the keys along with the uniquely beautiful sound coming out of the back leave no mystery to which piano brand is at the top. Where exactly did these storied pianos come from?
The Steinway history starts with the first Steinway pianos were made by Heinrich Steinweg back in the early 1800s in Germany. In the 1820s, Steinweg made his pianos out of his own house located in Seesen, Germany. The pianos were made under the name Steinweg until he and his wife immigrated to the United States along with their children in the 1850s. Some of his relatives remained in Germany to make these pianos under the name Steinweg. In the United States Steinweg renamed his company Steinway to sound more American. There was a great fear among immigrants that broadcasting their status as internationals would lead to a stereotype that would be hard to break; however, this was an unnecessary worry for Steinweg as his company, Steinway, continued to manufacture the pianos successfully to satisfied customers in the United States just as in Germany.
By the 1870s, the Steinway history had taken a turn as the Steinway company was massively successfully. Williams Steinway, one of the sons of Steinweg, had taken the company to a new level. A massive factory was established on Park Avenue where the production of the company rose from under 500 pianos per year to close to 2000. The production increase was necessary to meet the demand of clamoring customers and the Steinway company, renamed Steinway Village, rose to employ 350 individuals. William Steinway even participated in an exposition in Astoria to increase the exposure of his company.
By the early 1900s, the Steinway history evolves again as the pianos had become so famous and so well known that Steinway halls were opening all over the city. In these concert halls, people from all over flocked to hear the best pianists on the time play on the unique Steinway Pianos. The sound was unmatched and served to even further balloon the reputation. Unfortunately, World War II marked a hiatus in the manufacture of the pianos. The company needed to use its technology for the war effort as they manufactured wooden gliders for use by the soldiers to collect information above and behind enemy lines.
Today, Steinway has manufactured close to one million pianos in its unique and storied history. Artists from Billy Joel to Harry Connick Jr. have remarked on the unique quality and experience of playing on a Steinway. Emanuel Ax and Martha Argerich have also commented on playing on the most storied brand in history. Overall, both the legacy and quality of the Steinway company is unmatched. Without such a quality product, the company would not have survived to this day. The longevity is a testament to the company’s superior quality.