Steinway, C. F. Theodor

1825-1889

 

The eldest son of Henry E. S. Steinway (or Steinweg, as the name was originally spelled), the founder of the piano firm of Steinway & Sons, and eventually the senior member of the firm. Henry E. S. Steinway learned cabinet-making and organbuilding at Goslar, Germany, and went to Seesen about 1820, beginning his career as a journeyman organbuilder, and also worked as a joiner. In his pianos, which he worked upon for many years, he combined the merits of the old English and the new German instruments. They had a great success and found a ready sale. In 1839 he placed on exhibition at the Brunswick State Fair his first grand piano. The revolution of 1848 led him to come to America in 1850 with three of his sons. Theodor was left behind in Brunswick to look after the business there. Upon the death of his brothers, Heinrich and Karl in 1865, he gave up the Brunswick business and joined his father and brother Albert in New York, where they had settled. The firm was then well established, its prosperity dating from 1855, when  it took first prize for overstrung pianos (square) with cast-iron frame, at the New York Industrial exhibition. The firm was awarded, besides this, the following medals and diplomas: First prize medal at London in 1862; first grand gold medal of honor for all styles of instruments at Paris in 1867; and diploma for highest degree of excellence in all styles at Philadelphia in 1876. The Steinway instruments rank among the finest in the world and are noted for the power and beauty of their tone and for the solidity and perfection of the workmanship. Besides the factory at Astoria, N. Y., where the instruments are manufactured, the firm owns yards, saw - mills, turning - mills, foundries, metal workshops and mechanical wood-bending and carving apparatus. The parts are made and are then sent from Astoria to New York City to be fitted together, and when the instruments are completed, they are exhibited at Steinway Hall, one of the finest and largest concert-halls in New York. The present head of the firm is Charles H. Steinway, a nephew of C. F. Theodor Steinway.