Steinway & Sons History

The Steinway & Sons history is long and fascinating.  Please read the success story of the company that started back in 1836:

Heinrich E Steinweg’s first grand piano was completed in the kitchen of his home in Seesen, Germany.  The piano was awarded the first prize, a gold medal at the 1839 Brunswick State Fair.  Another 482 pianos were to follow within the next decade.

The Steinweg family sailed to New York and moved to 166 Hester Street.  They then Americanized their name to Steinway.

Henry Engelhard Steinway and his sons found the company of Steinway & Sons in a loft on Varick Street in Manhattan, where the first American Steinway was made and sold.

The first official public recognition of the supreme quality of the Steinway pianos on the occasion of the “American Institute Fair”, held at the New York Crystal Palace.

Henry Steinway, Jr. patented the grand piano action, which was Steinway & Sons’ first patent.

Henry Steinway Jr. patented the overstrung grand piano frame, allowing for longer and thicker piano strings.

Steinway & Sons opened a new “piano manufactory” between 52nd and 53rd on Fourth Avenue, now known as Park Ave.

The first Steinway Hall opened on 14th St. in Manhattan and almost immediately became the artistic and cultural center of New York City.  With a main auditorium of 2,000 seats, it housed the New York Philharmonic Orchestra until Carnegie Hall opened in 1891.

Steinway & Sons received high commendations in the official report on the “Paris World Fair“.

In 1871, Henry Sr. died and C.F. Theodore and William took over the operations.  William Steinway began buying land in Bowery Bay, now known as Astoria, Queens, and the ground was broken for the new Steinway factory.  At the same time, William began developing and promoting national concert tours by internationally famous artists.  Anton Rubinstein was the first in 1871, followed by Paderewski 20 years later.

C.F. Theodore Steinway patented the duplex scale.

Opening of the Steinway Hall in London, the first European sales branch.

Establishment of the Hamburg factory on Schanzenstraße, as the sole European production facility.

The first Steinway designed especially for the White House, #100,000, was presented during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt.

Opening of the Steinway Hall (Steinway-Haus) on Jungfernstieg, Hamburg.

Opening of the Steinway branch on Budapester Straße in Berlin.

The new Steinway factory on Rondenbarg was built.

The second White House piano, #300,000, was presented to the nation by the Steinway family during the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The custom-designed piano stands on huge gilded eagle legs and is on view in the East Room.  It has been designated an “historic artifact” by the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.

Opening of Steinway-Haus on Colonnaden in the center of Hamburg city.  The old Schanzenstraße factory was then sold.

CBS Inc. bought Steinway & Sons. Incorporation into the Columbia Group.

The Hamburg branch of Steinway & Sons celebrated its Centenary.

CBS. Inc. sells the entire Musical Instruments Division, which also includes Steinway & Sons, to three American businessmen. The new holding company traded under the name Steinway Musical Properties.

Steinway & Sons produced piano #500,000 and unveiled it at Carnegie Hall, New York on June 2 during a gala concert.  It then began its tour through the United States, Europe and the Far East.

Steinway celebrated the beginning of the 500,000 tour through Europe on December 2 at the Philharmonie, Berlin.

The new Boston piano, designed and owned by Steinway & Sons, was introduced.  The design incorporates many special features also found in the Steinway & Sons pianos.  The Boston is a high quality production line piano made in Japan.

Steinway & Sons celebrate their 140th anniversary.

The Steinway Academy opens the C. F. Theodore Steinway School for Concert Technicians, the first academy of its kind for concert technicians world-wide.

The merging of the holding company of Steinway & Sons – the Steinway Musical Properties – and the Selmer Company, USA happens in May, 1995.

Selmer Inc. changed the official name to “Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc.” and goes public on  August 2nd. On the New York Stock Exchange, 3.5 million shares are floated at a share price of US$ 19.  The Steinway share is quoted on Wall Street under the appropriate abbreviation “LVB” (Ludwig van Beethoven).

March 1st, 1997 saw the establishment of a new subsidiary of Steinway & Sons in Tokyo called Steinway & Sons Japan, Ltd.  Also that year Steinway & Sons celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the founder Henry E. Steinway.

In January 1999, Steinway & Sons receives official government approval to open an own office in Beijing, China.  At this time the legendary Artist Roster consisted of more than 1,300 world famous pianists.

The year 2000 was the 300th anniversary of Cristofori’s invention of the piano and was commemorated by Steinway & Sons with the introduction of a special masterpiece, designer piano. This Tricentennial Limited Edition Grand Piano was designed by the American Designer Dakota Jackson.  This piano was limited to 300 pieces worldwide.
The year 2000 also saw the opening of a Steinway & Sons office in Beijing China.

On January 1st, Steinway & Sons acquired piano store Karl Lang in Munich and it is renamed Steinway-Haus Muenchen.  The official inauguration took place on 20th May, in the presence of Maestro Alfred Brendel and Eva Rubinstein, daughter of Maestro Arthur Rubinstein.
By taking over the best-known piano dealership, Steinway raised the number of its own halls in Germany to three.

Steinway & Sons celebrated its 150th anniversary on the 5th of March, 2003 – celebrating 150 years of building “the instrument of the immortals”.  Throughout the worldwide anniversary celebrations the highlight undoubtedly is the concert event of the century held at Carnegie Hall in New York on June 5, 6 and 7, 2003, featuring artists from classical, jazz and pop.

January 1, 2004 saw the official opening of the subsidiary Steinway Piano (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.  The new corporation is situated in Shanghai and supplies the Chinese dealer network.

Steinway & Sons Hamburg celebrated its 125th anniversary of foundation.  The world-famous artists Vladimir & Vovka Ashkenazy, Detlef Kraus and Lang Lang performed in a festive ceremony as part of the anniversary events.
Steinway & Sons introduced to the public the limited masterpiece “125th Anniversary Limited Edition Grand Piano designed by Goertz” on April 16, created by the designer Count Albrecht Goertz (1914 – 2006).  Count Goertz designed the BMW 507 sports car, and was responsible for designing this special Model A Steinway & Sons piano, combining satin and highly polished black finishes.  There were only 125 made.

After 52 years, Steinway-Haus Hamburg moves from the Colonnaden to Rondenbarg 15, and is now situated opposite to the Steinway factory in Hamburg.
With the introduction of “The Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos” the company opens a new chapter in its history. The introduction of the Essex piano, also designed by Steinway & Sons, allowed the company to offer instruments to three price categories to fulfill each individual demand. A high quality production line piano, the Essex piano is designed to fulfill the needs of the musician while also catering to a more affordable price bracket.

Steinway Musical Instruments Inc. announced the nomination of Thomas Kurrer as President of Steinway & Sons on 29th August, 2007.  Thomas Kurrer is the successor of Bruce Stevens, who retired after 22 years.
In the 2006/2007 concert season, approximately 99% of all concert pianists chose to perform on a Steinway piano over any other piano.


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