Steinway & Sons - History - Foundation and Growth

Foundation and Growth

Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg first made pianos in 1835 from his house in Seesen, Germany, including one designed by and produced for Friedrich Grotrian, a piano dealer. Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg produced pianos under the Steinweg brand until he emigrated from Germany to America in 1850 with his wife and eight of his nine children. The eldest son, C.F. Theodor Steinweg, remained in Germany, and continued making the Steinweg brand of pianos, partnering with Friedrich Grotrian in 1856–65.

In 1853, Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg founded Steinway & Sons. His first workshop was in a small loft at the back of 85 Varick Street in the Manhattan district of New York City. The first piano produced by Steinway & Sons was given the number 483 because Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg had built 482 pianos in Germany. Number 483 was sold to a New York family for $500, and is now displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A year later, demand was such that the company moved to larger premises at 82–88 Walker Street. It was not until 1864 that the family anglicized their name from Steinweg to Steinway.

By the 1860s, Steinway had built a new factory at Park Avenue and 53rd Street, the present site of the Seagram Building, where it covered a whole block. With a workforce of 350 men, production increased from 500 to 1,800 pianos per year. The pianos themselves underwent numerous substantial improvements through innovations made both at the Steinway factory and elsewhere in the industry based on emerging engineering and scientific research, including developments in the understanding of acoustics. Almost half of the company's 126 patented inventions were developed by the first and second generations of the Steinway family. Steinway's pianos won several important prizes at exhibitions in New York City, Paris and London. By 1862, Steinway pianos had received more than 35 medals.

In 1865, the Steinway family sent a letter to C.F. Theodor Steinweg asking that he leave the German Steinweg factory (by now located in Braunschweig, known in English as Brunswick) and travel to New York City to take over the leadership of the family firm due to the deaths of his brothers Henry and Charles from disease. C.F. Theodor Steinweg obeyed, selling his share of the German piano company to his partner, Wilhelm Grotrian (son of Friedrich Grotrian), and two other workmen, Adolph Helfferich and H.G.W. Schulz. The German factory changed its name from C.F. Theodor Steinweg to Grotrian, Helfferich, Schulz, Th. Steinweg Nachf. (English: Grotrian, Helfferich, Schulz, successors to Th. Steinweg), later shortened to Grotrian-Steinweg. In New York, C.F. Theodor Steinweg anglicized his name to C.F. Theodore Steinway. During the next 15 years of his leadership he kept a home in Braunschweig and traveled often between Germany and the United States.

Around 1870–80, William Steinway (born Wilhelm Steinweg, a son of Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg) established a professional community, the company town Steinway Village, in what is now the Astoria section of Queens in New York City. Steinway Village was built as its own town, and included a new factory (still used today) with its own foundry and sawmill, houses for employees, kindergarten, lending library, post office, volunteer fire department and parks. Steinway Village later became part of Long Island City. Steinway Street, one of the major streets in the Astoria and Long Island City neighborhoods of Queens, is named after the company.

To reach European customers who wanted Steinway pianos, and to avoid high European import taxes, William Steinway and C.F. Theodore Steinway established a new piano factory in the free German city of Hamburg in 1880. As well, C.F. Theodore Steinway wished to stop traveling to America; to live in Germany on a permanent basis. The first address of Steinway's factory in Hamburg was at Schanzenstraße in the western part of Hamburg St. Pauli. C.F. Theodore Steinway became the head of the German factory, and William Steinway went back to the factory in New York City. The Hamburg and New York City factories regularly exchanged experience about their patents and technique despite the large distance between them, and they continue to do so today. More than a third of Steinway's patented inventions are under the name of C.F. Theodore Steinway. C.F. Theodore Steinway died in Braunschweig in 1889, having successfully competed against the Grotrian-Steinweg brand – both the Hamburg-based Steinway factory and the Braunschweig-based Grotrian-Steinweg factory became known for producing premium German pianos.

In 1890, Steinway received their first royal warrant, granted by Queen Victoria. The following year the patrons of Steinway included the Prince of Wales and other members of the monarchy and nobility. In subsequent years Steinway was granted royal and imperial warrants from the rulers of Italy, Norway, Persia, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

Read more about this topic:  Steinway & Sons, History

Other articles related to "foundation, foundation and growth":

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - History - The Warren Buffett Donation
... estimated worth of US$62 billion as of April 16, 2008) pledged to give the foundation approximately 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares spread over multiple years through annual contributions ... conditions so that these contributions do not simply increase the foundation's endowment, but effectively work as a matching contribution, doubling the Foundation's annual giving "Buffett's ... Buffett gave the foundation two years to abide by the third requirement." The Gates Foundation received 5% (500,000) of the shares in July 2006 and will receive 5% of the remaining earmarked ...
Socialist Workers Party (Ireland) - Foundation and Growth
... Some of those who joined the SWM after its formation sympathised with a small tendency in Britain and later split away to form the Irish Workers Group, which later became Workers Power ... Meanwhile, the SWM grew on a modest scale and published a paper called The Worker ...
Grand Alliance (League Of Augsburg) - Foundation
... The Alliance was twice installed ... Between 1689 and 1698 it fought the Nine Years War against France ...
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
... The Bill Melinda Gates Foundation (B MGF or the Gates Foundation) is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by ... The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to ... The foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, is controlled by its three trustees Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett ...
Foundation - Other Uses
... Foundation (evidence), a legal term Foundation (cosmetics) The Foundation (TV series) The Foundation (1984 TV series), a TVB television series "The Foundation" (Seinfeld) FOUNDATION fieldbus, a ...

Famous quotes containing the words growth and/or foundation:

    Unlimited economic growth has the marvelous quality of stilling discontent while maintaining privilege, a fact that has not gone unnoticed among liberal economists.
    Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)

    Laws remain in credit not because they are just, but because they are laws. That is the mystic foundation of their authority; they have no other.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592)