Steinway Model M Grand Pianos | Past, Present, & Future
The Steinway & Sons Model M is a well beloved and versatile grand piano and has been since its creation in 1911. Before we tell the tale of the Steinway Model M, we need to understand the historical context under which this instrument was introduced. Things had begun to shift and change during the early part of the 20th century.
The piano had quickly become THE luxury item that every family yearned to own. Hundreds of thousands of grand and upright pianos were manufactured and sold yearly in the United States alone during the industry ‘golden age’. This increasing popularity with the general public led companies to look at crafting instruments that fit smaller rooms and within slightly smaller budgets.
Competition within the market continued to grow. As the Steinway & Sons Company entered this market, they too came up with their own answer to this smaller sized piano- the Model M.
The Introduction of the Steinway Model M | 1911
In the year 1911, Steinway & Sons introduced the Model M Grand Piano. The Model M has had many nicknames assigned to it over the years. Dubbed a ‘Small Grand’, ‘Miniature Grand’, ‘Baby Grand’, ‘Medium Grand’ and now ‘Studio Grand’ the Model M has been in constant production ever since its introduction. The Steinway Model M was first introduced at the New York Steinway factory. The first in the series, Steinway #150293 was completed on 8/18/1911 and production of the Model M in Hamburg began in 1926.
The Model M scale design was originally designed by Henry Ziegler and is a design scaled down from the larger Model O. [For more about the Model O’s interesting history, click here.] At first glance in photographs, the Model M might be mistaken for the smaller Model S. One quick way to check is to count the number of cooling holes molded into the plate. [The ‘S’ has 5 while the ‘M’ features 6.]
The Model M has undergone slight changes throughout its lifetime. When the Model M was first introduced it measured 5’6” long. As the design was tweaked, this length was gradually increased over the years and all Model M grand pianos built after 1917 measure a slightly longer 5’7”. The Model M held a special place within the lineup of grand pianos offered by Steinway. Until the introduction of the 5’1” Steinway Model S in 1935, the Model M was the smallest Steinway grand piano.
Between 1914 and 1931 a number of Model M scale designs were built into larger cabinets in order to hold Duo-Art player systems made by The Aeolian Company. These Style XR instruments measure 6’2” in length. It is important to note that the larger cabinet does not mean the scale design is extended. It is fairly common to see Model M grands in various art case cabinet designs. One rather interesting piano was built in 1912. According to The Official Guide to Steinway Pianos, Steinway Model O #154841 featured an ‘O’ sized cabinet with a Model M soundboard, plate, legs, and lyre.
The Conclusion | The Model M – Continued Popularity, Now & for the Future
The Steinway & Sons Model M is one of the most common and best-selling pianos ever produced by the company. Blending a combination of manageable size with more than acceptable tone, these small ‘baby grands’ are in consistent use as home pianos, practice room instruments and in many institutional settings. Medium sized grand pianos like the Model M helped Steinway and other companies survive increasingly smaller room sizes and the economic downturn of the Great Depression. Their size and sound continue to make them a top choice for many. In our own personal experience, we have found that the popularity of the Model M scale design continues. With a much larger sound than the 5’1” Model S and a slightly more manageable size than a larger 5’10” Model O or L, the ‘M’ is a great in-between choice for any pianist.
Today, Steinway New York retails new Model M grands for upwards of $68,000.00. We regularly rebuild/restore vintage Steinway Model M grands for institutions, professional musicians and families across the country.
The Model M grand piano has provided families with musical joy since its introduction in 1911, and will continue to provide families that joy as long as people search for pianos with superior musical quality. A vintage ‘golden age’ Steinway that has been properly rebuilt is sure to provide the art of music for many decades to come. If you have any inquiries about rebuilt Model M pianos, or any other Steinway & Sons piano, feel free to contact us.
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About Us: For over four decades Chupp’s Piano Service has been specializing in the premium restoration of vintage Steinway & Sons grand pianos. Founded by Master Piano Technician Dennis Chupp in 1975 we have dedicated ourselves to restoring historic instruments to their rightful concert status. Our rebuilt instruments grace the stages of universities, concert venues and the homes of private pianists across the world. Our showrooms feature fully rebuilt Steinway, pre-owned Yamaha and brand new Kawai grand, upright and digital pianos.