A Brief History of Steinway’s Best-in-Class Reputation - photo by Steinway & Sons

What makes a Steinway Different: A Brief History of Steinway’s Best-in-Class Reputation

Steinway pianos have long been considered the best-in-class, but this incredible and infallible reputation was built over decades.

Read on to learn more about the history of this prestigious brand, the supplier of the world’s finest pianos.

Humble beginnings

Steinway & Sons founder Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg began his career as a cabinet and piano maker, crafting his first piano at home in 1836. Alongside his family, Heinrich emigrated to the United States of America in 1850. Three years later, in 1953, Heinrich founded Steinway & Sons, named after the family’s new name, with his children in a Manhattan loft.

It took just 13 years for the first Steinway Hall to open in New York, becoming a centre for art and culture. During this period, Steinway & Sons pianos received recognition for their premium quality from numerous knowledgeable and highly influential sources, including the “American Institute Fair” at the New York Crystal Palace and the “Paris World Fair”. Steinway & Sons’ iconic London showroom opened its doors in 1875, followed by locations in cultural epicentres across the globe. Music aficionados can find Steinway showrooms in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hamburg.

Humble Beginnings - photo by Steinway & Sons

Quality craftsmanship

Steinway & Sons have since become the favoured piano manufacturer by around ninety-seven percent of concert pianists, with magnificent Steinway grands taking centre stage at the most celebrated concert halls across the globe.

Despite the increase in the number of pianos being meticulously manufactured each year, the building of factories, opening of sales halls and expansion to subsidiaries across the world, a Steinway & Sons piano can still be trusted to deliver the same exquisite levels of quality as when the company was first founded by Heinrich.

Each piano takes close to a year to build and is done so by hand using skills passed from master craftsmen to their apprentices through the generations. Our craftsmen never hurry, taking the time to perfect each aspect of their masterpieces before moving on to the next, carefully selecting the best woods to manufacture rims, actions and soundboards, painstakingly assembling each of the 12,000 plus pieces that make up a Steinway, and rigorously testing its tone guarantee they adhere to our exacting standards.

Quality craftsmanship - photo by Steinway & Sons

Ongoing development

It is no secret that Steinway & Sons’ reputation as the pinnacle of musical excellence is due to our penchant for innovation. In fact, we have been granted more than 130 patents since our very first in 1857.

In 2015, Steinway & Sons launched Spirio, the finest high-resolution player piano in the world. Spirio and Spirio R technology are available across a range of our most popular models, including the Model B, allowing connoisseurs of music to bring to life the magic of live performance in the comfort of their living rooms. Spirio combines Steinway’s classic artistry with modern engineering intelligence to create a modern piano that invites players to explore new mediums of self-expression.

The history of Steinway pianos is long and riveting, played across the world stage with a cast made up of many influential figures in the industry. We strive to achieve excellence in all we do, which means continuing to invest in the development of our technologies and innovative manufacturing techniques. It is this ongoing commitment to quality that sets Steinway apart from other pianos.


What is the Golden Age of Steinway?

The Golden Age of Steinway typically refers to the period of manufacturing during the 1920s and 1930s. As remains the case today, during this period Steinway pianos were sought after and considered the best fine pianos worldwide.

What is the most popular Steinway model?

The most popular Steinway model is the Model B. This 6’ 11” (211cm) classical grand piano is known by pianists as the ‘perfect piano’ because of its versatility, size and powerful sound quality. The Model B is the ideal size for both mid-sized venues and grand living rooms and is also available as a Steinway Spirio.

Why are Steinway pianos the best?

Steinway grand and upright pianos are considered the gold standard by musicians the world over because of our commitment to quality craftsmanship. While much has changed since Heinrich Engelhard Steinway founded the company in 1853, each Steinway & Sons piano is still painstakingly crafted using the best quality tools and superior materials. This produces an unrivalled tonal quality and luxurious playing experience unlike any other.