The Hamburg Steinway Factory – A Historic Report of Differences – ft. Excerpts from a Report by William T. Steinway
An Historic Glimpse Into the 70's Hamburg Steinway FactoryOne of the most unique parts of the Steinway story, is the tail of two factories. Although with a name like Steinway (originally Steinweg), one could not be blamed for initially thinking that Steinway & Sons is a German company, transplanted to the United States. In fact, that is almost reversed. Founded in 1853 in the city of New York,Steinway & Sons was the brainchild of German immigrant Henry E. Steinway. Launching his new piano business into one of the most cutthroat and competitive businesses of his day, Henry and his offspring would quickly grow the company into one of the powerhouses of modern day music. As demand increased in the United States, demand increased overseas as well. The decision was made to open a factory overseas and the Steinway name returned to Germany - the City of Hamburg, to be exact. In 1880, C.F. Theodore and William Steinway founded the Hamburg Steinway Factory. A wholly owned venture, this new factory allowed them to avoid high import tariffs and allowed for easier distribution of their newly built pianos throughout the European market. Today, the Hamburg division continues to serve this purpose and most of the countries outside of North America are supplied with instruments crafted in Hamburg. Here in the United States, Hamburg Steinway pianos are often viewed as more 'exotic' and are known to posses a different tonal quality when compared to their New York factory brethren.
FIND YOUR DREAM PIANO – FROM YOUR COUCH!
During this unprecedented time, we are still able to assist you in your search for your dream piano! Via phone, Facetime, Skype or email, a member of the Chupp’s Pianos team can take you on a virtual journey through our showroom selection of premium rebuilt Steinway & Sons and new Kawai pianos. Interested? Call us at 888-831-5820 or connect with us via our contact form below.…
Testimonial - Long-Distance Client Finds Their Dream SteinwayOne of the things that we assist with quite often, is the selection of a piano by a client who lives well outside of our local region. The team here at Chupp's Pianos was recently fortunate enough to be able to provide a beautiful Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano to one of these customers. We worked with them via email and phone to ensure they received an instrument that met their expectations. Our network of expert piano delivery specialists allows us to deliver across the entire country - and even overseas! They were kind enough to send in a testimonial about the piano and their experience working with Chupp's Piano Service.
Why should you consider springing for a larger piano? What do the pedals on a Steinway piano do? What about a 'free' upright piano? In today’s blog post, we cover a few of the piano-related questions we receive here at Chupp’s Piano Service.
What Is The Benefit of a Large Grand Piano?Besides the amazing focal point that a large grand piano can give any room, there are a number of benefits that come with the purchase and use of a large grand piano over their smaller cousins. The first benefit you may notice when you begin to play is the superior level of control many large concert grands provide. Much of this can be traced back to the longer key sticks. What is a piano keystick? Traditionally crafted from a premium pine or spruce, the long wooden keys are capped with a keytop. (It is important to note that a piano key extends in length far beyond the small part at the front that is touched by the pianist.) Pianos of yesteryear boasted keytops of genuine ivory and ebony. Today, the most common materials are high-grade plastics and polymers. These materials are more environmentally friendly and less prone to cracking or yellowing. The larger key bed and action cavity space in a concert grand gives enough room for the length of the keys to be extended to their optimum length. The longer piano keys allow for greater precision and control over each note.
White House Steinways - Since 19031600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, D.C. The home of the President of the United States... and multiple pianos? Like other countries, music is rooted in American history, so it is no wonder that pianos of various makers have found their way into one of the world's most well known political residences. Since 1903, the showpiece grand piano in the White House has been a Steinway Model D. Read on for more!
The Current Piano - Steinway #300000Steinway & Sons recognized the honor, prestige, and yes, marketing value that came with having their instrument reside in the home of the President of the United States. The most well-known piano in the White House is a 1938 Steinway & Sons Art Case Model D Concert Grand #300000 veneered in mahogany. Resting on legs resembling American Bald Eagles, this piano features motifs depicting traditional American music.
Why Are My Piano Keys Sticking?
Behind each ivory, ebony or plastic topped key stick resides almost every moving part in a piano. All of these moving parts creates the potential for annoying sticking and binding, causing notes not to function. There are a number of reasons this may occur and can usually be quickly diagnosed by a qualified piano technician. Here are a few of the most common reasons.
- Debris. The gaps between the keysticks allow for small debris to fall between them. Over time, this can cause keys to bind together. Each key pivots on metal pins. If the rail pins become dirty or filled with debris, this can cause keys to feel sluggish. With a grand piano, pencils and similar items can often fall between strings and into the piano's action. (This author has dealt with that a time or two on his personal piano...) The fix for this usually involves removing the action stack or keys to get to the issue, removing any junk and thoroughly cleaning the action. If possible, keep small items stored away from where they could accidentally fall into the piano's action cavity or between the key sticks.
- Humidity swings can cause wooden key sticks and action parts to expand and shrink, causing parts to bind. We highly recommend that you take steps to control the humidity levels within and around your piano. The best way to do so is to invest in either a whole room or whole house humidification control system. As a nice side benefit, this will also greatly increase the comfort level of your home. We also recommend the consideration of a Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver System installed directly onto the piano. The combination of these steps will ensure that you receive the longest service and most enjoyment out of your musical instrument.
- Broken parts. There is a chance there may be broken action parts which are keeping your piano from functioning. Lost screws, flattened knuckles, broken wippens. These are just a few of the issues that may be causing your piano keys to jam or not return properly. Again, this would be an issue for your piano technician to diagnose and repair.
Steinway & Sons New York and Hamburg | What's the Difference?
Question: “What's the difference between Steinway pianos built at the company's New York Factory and their Hamburg Factory?"
An American Company
While Charles Dicken's novel A Tale of Two Cities dealt with the cities of Paris and London, this comparison deals with New York and Hamburg. Specifically, their shared role as the home for Steinway & Sons pianos. This unusual situation has resulted in key differences between the American and European variants of these legendary musical instruments.
Contrary to the belief of some, Steinway & Sons is not a European company and have always been an American company first and foremost. Founded by German immigrant Henry E. Steinway, the New York-based company grew quickly from its modest founding in 1853 to quickly become the leading piano maker in North America. This led to increased demand for their products in both the United States and around the world. As this demand for pianos grew, the decision was made to open a factory overseas and the Steinway name returned to Germany - the City of Hamburg, to be exact.
"Beauty cannot be measured, you see. It must be perceived."The following paragraphs are taken from an article by Lili Földes entitled The Other Masters of the Keyboard. Through the experience of being married to a concert pianist (Andor Földes) and the keen eye of a journalist, Mrs. Foldes pulls back the curtain on the unsung artists of the keyboard - and the rest of the instrument we know as the piano.
"We can’t believe what a beautiful instrument it is; exactly as represented"Recommendations and reviews from our friends and clients is always a great encouragement. Read on to view two recent reviews left on our Google Business listing. Thank you to Franklin and Diana for your kind words!
"We purchased our piano from Chupps in 2003 and it has been one of the best purchases we have ever made. We really had to save to buy and restore the Steinway B, but Dennis Chupp patiently helped us to find exactly what we were looking for and he restored it to perfection. The cost was less than what others had quoted us and the quality of Chupp's work was first-class. Our piano tuner (who is quite noted herself) said it is one of the finest restorations she has seen. She loves voicing and tuning our Steinway.
Little Rock, AR Clients on their Chupp's Piano Service Vintage Steinway Grand Piano
We were recently fortunate enough to be able to provide a beautiful vintage Steinway & Sons Grand Piano to Sam & Kim Vallery of Little Rock, Arkansas. They were kind enough to send in a testimonial about the piano they purchased from us along with some beautiful photos, which we have included below.
"What a delightful experience it was to come and see your pianos. We had scoured our area (Little Rock) in search of the perfect piano for me, but were left disappointed. We then hit the road. We ended up in Elkhart IN, visited several stores, and saved the best for last. Dennis gave me free rein to play whatever piano I wanted. No pressure, no time frame.
Four Pianos, Hundreds of Years of HistoryWe recently had several pianos lined up in our Rebuilding Facility that spanned the near entirety of what is considered the golden age of Steinway & Sons Factory quality. When we saw what we had set up, we couldn't help but snap some pictures to share! For lack of a better word, this was just plain cool! From the early days of modern piano building to the style of instrument most popular today, it's all represented! Here is some detail regarding these fine grand pianos.
Steinway & Sons Model D #52626 was completed in early 1885. This means that construction of this piano began at the New York Steinway Factory in 1884. This is the first year that Steinway ever made what is now known as the king of concert grand pianos, the Model D! Veneered in a rich cut of rare Brazilian Rosewood and as one of the very first Model D Concert Grands ever built by Steinway, this piano marks the beginning of an era. It is a rare find indeed! The piano features a then typical round arm art case design with double narrow moldings around the case, a figured music desk with 'old-style' fretwork, hand-carved Victorian fluted flowerpot legs with hidden casters and a large box pedal lyre with carved pillars. This instrument was originally purchased for use at the DuPage County Library near Chicago, IL. This concert grand piano is currently located at our New Paris Rebuilding Facility and is available for selection and purchase. [Click Here to Read More About This Piano.]
The Steinway & Sons Model B - The World's "Perfect" PianoFor over 160 years, the name "Steinway" has represented the finest quality in the piano industry. Founded by Henry E. Steinway, the company quickly became a leader in both craftsmanship and innovation. One of the company's most legendary pianos is the 'seven-foot' Steinway Model B. This model of musical instrument is found in homes, institutions and performance venues around the world. View the infographic below to learn a bit more about this legendary piano. [Click the infographic to expand.]
The Greatest Showman – The Piano ConnectionThe Greatest Showman hit theaters recently and with its solid box office numbers showed that the revival of the film musical is truly in force. Starring Hugh Jackman, this fictionalized musical focuses on the life of showman P.T. Barnum. The film is a great callback to classical films while still feeling current and ‘hip’. The film features a scene that although brief, has an interesting connection to the history of the piano industry.
P.T. Barnum & Jenny Lind - An OverviewIn 1850, P.T. Barnum arranged for Swedish singer Jenny Lind to tour the United States. A desire to appeal to a more highbrow audience and help ‘class up’ his reputation was key in his drive for his latest production. His reputation up to that point had been as someone who promoted more 'low brow' entertainment. Initially agreeing to $1,000.00 for each performance (plus expenses), Barnum also agreed to pay Lind up front for the tour. This was entirely based on her reputation in Europe, as he had never heard her sing. Lind later negotiated a high compensation package after discovering the immense scale and popularity of the cross-country tour. One of the greatest marketers and promoters of his day, Barnum made Jenny Lind into a household name before she ever arrived in North America. In fact, most Americans had no idea who she was prior to the start of his breathtakingly huge marketing campaign. When she arrived in New York, tens of thousands of spectators gathered at the port to greet her. Although Barnum and Lind amicably parted ways part way through the scheduled tour, it ended up being a great financial success for all involved. Lind was able to raise copious amounts of money for her various charities and she continued to tour North America under who own management. She would later marry her pianist, Otto Goldschmidt.
"Wicked" Piano Cover on Steinway M #227953Piano Technician/Pianist Philip Balke performs 'I'm Not That Girl' from the beloved Broadway musical, 'Wicked'. Written by Stephen Schwartz, originally recorded by Idina Menzel (original song) and Kristin Chenoweth (reprise). Performed on restored Steinway & Sons Model M Grand Piano #227953. Recorded at the Chupp's Piano Showroom in Goshen, Indiana, video production by Benjamin Rogers.
Question: My child is starting piano lessons. What kind of piano should I get for them? I found a free one on Craigslist and most of the keys still work. Could I start them on this piano until they get good enough to deserve a better one?
The selection of an instrument for your budding student is an important one. Students of the piano will spend many an hour practicing scales and building up to ever increasingly difficult pieces. A link should build between the artist and their instrument. This is why it is critical to select a piano that encourages them to sit down and play.