When the younger Henry Steinway reported on his first day at work to his father, he was told: “Henry, I am glad you are here. You are going to get a start where I did.” Henry, initially ecstatic, was soon puzzled as his father led him to the basement where he stopped by the maintenance foreman’s office, laconically stating “he’s yours” and walked away.
Steinway and his sons swiftly showed their natural talents as piano makers working at the forefront of innovation and essentially developing the modern grand piano. Such was their success, they moved to a larger factory on Park Avenue, before building a factory in Queens, where they still are today.
Each piece of wood used inside a Steinway is meticulously examined. “We use different types of woods based on their purpose within the piano”, explains Anthony Gilroy of Steinway & Sons. “The wood for the soundboard is Alaskan Sitka Spruce – which is a very light and musical wood – but also strong. We have longtime relationships with lumber companies in different areas…”
But making some of the world’s finest pianos is just part of the Steinway story; what is little known is just how much the family shaped New York society…