Talk:C.F. Theodore Steinway

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Addings from the German article[edit]

Rough translation from the DE Wikipedia[edit]

Christian Friedrich Theodor Steinweg (* November 6, 1825 in Seesen; † March 26 1889 in Brunswick), anglizised name C.F. Theodore Steinway, was the eldest son of the carpenter, cabinetmaker master and organ manufacturer Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (Henry E. Steinway, founder of Grotrian-Steinweg and Steinway & Sons), piano maker and fabrikant.

Life

Therodore Steinway’s patented rim bending block

He was 25 years when 1850 his father, mother, sisters and brothers emigrated to New York. He was made head of the since 1835 existing piano manufacture of his father in Seesen near the Harz mountains. Soon afterwards he moved the piano workshop to Wolfenbüttel. In 1858 the pianomaker Friedrich Grotrian, a man with some capital and russian / St. Petersburg piano manufacturing experience became partner and shareholder. The production was moved to the neighbouring city of Brunswick.

Theodore Steinway held many patents for innovations in piano manufacturing. An intensive exchange of ideas in letters and later by transatlantic cable telegrams with the american family members gained many innovative developments.

Theodore Steinway sold his shares 1865 to Wilhelm Grotrian; the company named itself since then Grotrian, Helfferich, Schulz, Th. Steinweg Nachf.. Theodore followed his family to New York, after his brothers Henry jr. (March 11, 1865 in New York) and Charles (March 31, 1865 in Brunswick) had died. In America he named himself Theodore Steinway.

His later years Theodor Steinway spent again in Brunswick since 1880. By his testament he donored his valuable music instruments to the City Museum of Brunswick.

Like Wilhelm Raabe, Ludwig Hänselmann, Konrad Koch et al. also Theodore Steinway was member of the „Kleiderseller“ ("honorable clothes salesmen"), a congregation to share and maintain sociality, hospitality and musical interests in Brunswick.

Theodore Steinway’s influence in piano development and on the executive management of Steinway and Sons

After the Steinway pianos had a lot of success on the world exhibitions in London and Paris (and later 1876 in Philadelphia), Theodore again initiated – instead of having sold the fatherly company to Grotrian, Helffrich - for Steinway a european manufaturing, reasons: On the one hand to save costs in customs and transportation expenses, on the other hand not to loose the connections to the highly sophisticated german piano making industry. 1866, shorthly after his move to New York, he installed the cooperation with the brothers Mangeot in Nancy, France who over several years in the late 1860ies got harps and soundboards from New York to install them into their own Mangeot cabinets and to sell these instruments under the brnad „Mangeot-Steinwaayg“ mostly in France and England. A fact which is completely ignored by the Steinway company as they tell that their archives contain no sheet of paper on these circumstance. Background: the sales director of the Mangeot company later became the love to William's first wife Regina Roos Steinway after they separated because of her having had "false sex" and born a child from another man. HE sent her away with the chiold to Europe, ad she went - to Nancy ending as the lover of Louis Dachauer but who was yet married and then divorded in a big scandal in France. Consequence: William set forth to become legaly searated from Regina.

Theodore then promoted togehter with his younger brother William a decision for another own factory to be erected either in London/GB or in the northern part of Germany, maybe Brunswick, maybe Hamburg. For reasons of shipment and customs they decided for Hamburg where in the year 1880 another Steinway factory opened their gates. This Hamburg factory was a separate business unit soleley owed by Theodore and William, off of the other Members of the new York based Steinway and Sons partnership..

Theodore but had followed the wish of his father to support the family’s business after the two younger brothers had died, and he was chief technician all hs life long and was CEO of Steinway & Sons from 1865 until 1889, but he never liked the life in New York City, and he preferred to live in Germany. He had sold his shares of the old family business to his partners Grotrian and Helfferich, but he 1880 went back to Germany, first to start the new Hamburg plant, then to live again in Brunswick. He, the eldest son, often gave advice to his much younger brother William, writing letters and telegrams with wordings like „you young man Willy do this and that, do this so and so and drop some other things..." .

C.F. Theodore Steinway was one of the most innovative inventors and patent holders in the history of piano making; more than 45 patents can be related to his technical genius. The two most important developments are thought first the single key mechanism fitted to the newly invented tubular frame built with tubes of brass which contain wooden sticks inside to allow accuracy and a simple screwing, patent gained 1871 for Steinway. Since the Vienna mechanism disapeared in the beginning of the 20th century all grand playing mechanims are build according to this single mechanism priciple, mainly developped by Theodore Steinway and his younger brothers. With this system it is possible to replace the hammer and also the whippen of a single defective key without influencing neither the neighbouring keys nor having the need to disassemble more than the defective elements. Also the reinstallation of the elements is supported with high accuracy on the one hand and on the other a quite simple adjustment to perfect working conditions. The precise bearing of the hammer and the whippen on specially profiled brass tubes is still today one of the core elements of Steinway’s grand playing mechanism and is not modified since 1871: a new hammer fits on a tubular fixture of 1871, and vice versa. Theodore's clou trick was to build a stiff metal fixation but with internal wooden sticks pressed in. These allow to apply the old and useful screwing technology of simple wood screws – but guaranty much higher precision and stability.

The other most important innovation was Theodore`s rim bending block patent from 1880. Nowadays every grand all over the world is built accourding this method: thin long strips of sawn wood are glued together with hard hardening glue and clamped on a wing-form fixture with screwed pressing bars. The former method of casemaking for grands was much more expensive and time consuming: it demanded the fitting-together of a right steam-bent full wood wall with edge bars and the left straight wall to a complete case. The steam bendin g proces demeanded to have very experienced workers, but the loss in wrongly bent wood was always high. So Theodore’s invention of a glued „book of wooden leafs“ was of very high economic use: this method allowed to manufactur morecases in shorter time with less loss in wood which was first dried over nearly three years and then eventaully lost – so his invention was a material saving method with an enormous advantage.

Theodore was the european counterpart for the intensive letter contacts of the Steinway men across the Atlantic and later on the trans Atlantic telegrams. This exchange of ideas by the Steinway brothers to make the pianos better and cheaper and mor reliable led to a ending phase of piano building between 1860 and 1885 and resulted in a huge amount of US patents. With the letters from Theodore and hins sketches the younger brothers often went to the US paten t office and ensured the sole use of these ideas for the Steinway piano production. Several patents else which are ot directly connected with Theodore’s name also go back to his tehcnical genius and development works.[1] [2] [3] [4]

Literature

  • Horst-Rüdiger Jarck and Gerhard Schildt (editors): Braunschweigische Landesgeschichte. Jahrtausendrückblick einer Region. Brunswick 2000
  • Ronald V. Ratcliffe: Steinway & Sons. Propyläen-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main (u.a.) 1992, ISBN 3-549-07192-2
  • Richard K. Lieberman: Steinway & Sons. Eine Familiengeschichte um Macht und Musik. Kindler, München 1996, ISBN 3-463-40288-2
  • Dirk Stroschein: Von Steinweg zu Steinway. Eine deutsch-amerikanische Familiensaga (Hörbuch auf Audio-CD). ISBN 3-455-32013-9

Edited version[edit]

Christian Friedrich Theodor Steinweg (born November 6, 1825 in Seesen; died March 26, 1889 in Brunswick), was the eldest son of the master cabinet maker and organ builder Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg (Henry E. Steinway, founder of Grotrian-Steinweg and Steinway & Sons), piano maker. His anglicised name was C.F. Theodore Steinway.

Life

Therodore Steinway’s patented rim bending block

He was 25 years old in 1850 when his parents, brothers and sisters emigrated to New York. The piano factory in Seesen, near the Harz mountains, which his father had founded in 1835, was transferred into his name. Soon afterwards he moved the factory to Wolfenbüttel. In 1858 the piano maker Friedrich Grotrian, a man with some capital and with experience of piano manufacturing in St Petersburg, became a partner in the business. Production was moved to the neighbouring city of Brunswick.

Theodore Steinway held many patents for innovations in piano manufacturing. An exchange of ideas with his family in America led to several innovative developments.

Theodore Steinway sold his share of the Brunswick business to Wilhelm Grotrian in 1865 and the company was renamed as Grotrian, Helfferich, Schulz, formerly Theodor Steinweg. Theodore followed his family to New York, after his brothers Henry jr. (March 11, 1865 in New York) and Charles (March 31, 1865 in Brunswick) had died. In America he called himself Theodore Steinway.

In 1880 Theodor Steinway returned to Brunswick to spend his last years there. In his will he bequeathed his valuable collection of musical instruments to the City Museum of Brunswick.

Like Wilhelm Raabe, Ludwig Hänselmann, Konrad Koch, among others, Theodore Steinway was a member of the Kleiderseller (Honorable Clothiers' Company of Brunswick), a society to share social, hospitable and musical interests in Brunswick.

Theodore Steinway's influence on piano development and the management of Steinway and Sons

Steinway pianos had achieved much success in the world exhibitions in London and Paris (and later in Philadelphia in 1876). Despite the sale of his father's company in Brunswick, Theodore relaunched manufacturing in Europe. This would save customs duties and transport costs, and help him to keep in touch with European piano manufacturing techniques. In 1866, soon after his move to New York, he contrived to obtain the co-operation of the brothers Mangeot in Nancy, France: for several years in the late 1860s they took delivery of frames and soundboards sent by Steinway in New York and installed them in their own cabinets and sell these instruments under the brand "Mangeot-Steinway", mostly in France and England.

[However the Steinway company claims to have no record of this co-operationas they tell that their archives contain no sheet of paper on these circumstance. The sales director of the Mangeot company had an affair with William's first wife Regina Roos Steinway after they separated because she had borne a child from another man. He sent her and the child to Europe, and she went to Nancy, and became the lover of Louis Dachauer, who was still married and then divorced in a big scandal in France. As a result, William tok steps to become legaly separated from Regina[citation needed].]

Theodore, together with his younger brother William then acted on a decision to build their own factory, either in London, England or Hamburg in Germany. The factory was eventually built in Hamburg in 1880: it was an independent company with William and Theodore as shareholders.

Although Theodore had moved to New York at the request of his father after his brothers had died, and had sold his share of the Brunswick business, he found no pleasure in New York and he was drawn back to Germany. He, as the eldest, constantly groomed his considerably younger brother William, and reasoned with him:"Young man, do this, leave that ..."

C.F. Theodore Steinway was one of the most innovative inventors and patent holders in the history of the piano: more than 45 patents originate from his development work. The most important development is considered to be the single key mechanism fitted to the newly invented tubular frame built with tubes of brass which contain wooden sticks inside to allow accuracy and a simple screwing, patent gained 1871 for Steinway. Since the Vienna mechanism disappeared at the beginning of the 20th century, all grand pianos have been built using the single key principle, mainly developed by Theodore Steinway and his younger brothers. With this system it is possible to replace the hammer and also the whippen of a single defective key without either disturbing the neighbouring keys or disassembling any non-defective elements. Also the reinstallation of the elements is supported with high accuracy on the one hand and on the other a quite simple adjustment to perfect working conditions. The precise bearing of the hammer and the whippen on specially profiled brass tubes is still today one of the core elements of Steinway’s grand piano mechanism and has not been not modified since 1871: a new hammer fits on a tubular fixture of 1871, and vice versa. Theodore's key innovation was the use of a stiff metal fixture with wooden sticks inserted. These permit the continuation of the old and trusted use of wood screws – but provide much higher precision and stability.

The next most important innovation was Theodore's rim bending block patent of 1880, which is still used in every grand piano all over the world: long thin strips of sawn wood are glued together and clamped on a wing-shaped fixture with screwed pressing bars. The previous method of casemaking for grands was much more expensive and time consuming: it demanded the fitting together of [wooden corner pieces and in particular the right-hand wall bent by steam into an S curve]. The steam bending process required very experienced workers, and a high proportion of the bent pieces had to be rejected. So Theodore’s invention, which glued together thin saw-cut sheets was very economical: it permitted more cases to be made in a shorter time, with less loss of wood which had already been expensively dried over a period of years.

Theodore was the European correspondent in the frequent exchange of letters, and later telegrams, between the Steinway brothers on either side of the Atlantic. This exchange of ideas for better, cheaper and more reliable piano manufacturing led to the final phase of the development of the piano between 1860 and 1885 and a large number of US patents. With the letters and sketches from Theodore in Germany, the younger brothers often applied to the US patent office and obtained protection for these ideas. Several further patents, which are not directly connected with Theodore's name, nevertheless originate from his work and ideas.[5] [6] [7] [8]

Literature

  • Horst-Rüdiger Jarck and Gerhard Schildt (editors): Braunschweigische Landesgeschichte. Jahrtausendrückblick einer Region. Brunswick 2000
  • Ronald V. Ratcliffe: Steinway & Sons. Propyläen-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main (u.a.) 1992, ISBN 3-549-07192-2
  • Richard K. Lieberman: Steinway & Sons. Eine Familiengeschichte um Macht und Musik. Kindler, München 1996, ISBN 3-463-40288-2
  • Dirk Stroschein: Von Steinweg zu Steinway. Eine deutsch-amerikanische Familiensaga (Hörbuch auf Audio-CD). ISBN 3-455-32013-9

Web links

Sources

  1. ^ Ronald V. Ratcliffe, „Steinway“, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, USA, 1989, ISBN 0-87701-592-9
  2. ^ Richard K. Lieberman, “Steinway & Sons”, ISBN 0-300-06364-4, Yale University Press, 1995
  3. ^ Theodore E. Steinway, “People and Pianos - A Pictorial History of Steinway & Sons”, Classical Music Today, 2005, Amadeus Press, Newark, New Jersey, ISBN 157467112X
  4. ^ Susan Goldenberg, “Steinway - From Glory to Controversy - The Family - The Business - The Piano”, Mosaic Press, Oakville, Ontario, CDN, 1996, ISBN 0-88962-607-3
  5. ^ Ronald V. Ratcliffe, „Steinway“, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, USA, 1989, ISBN 0-87701-592-9
  6. ^ Richard K. Lieberman, "Steinway & Sons", ISBN 0-300-06364-4, Yale University Press, 1995
  7. ^ Theodore E. Steinway, "People and Pianos - A Pictorial History of Steinway & Sons", Classical Music Today, 2005, Amadeus Press, Newark, New Jersey, ISBN 157467112X
  8. ^ Susan Goldenberg, "Steinway - From Glory to Controversy - The Family - The Business - The Piano", Mosaic Press, Oakville, Ontario, CDN, 1996, ISBN 0-88962-607-3

Ehrenkater (talk) 16:43, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Questions for AxelKingg[edit]

First, Ehrenkater, I did not see that you were also working on a version here on the talk page. I went ahead and put my edits on the article page, which I've just now finished.

AxelKingg, look at these two versions and see what you think. Perhaps you will want to combine something from each one. As usual, the technical details were a bit tricky for me to work with; hope I got those right.

  • Please note: your phrase "requires only a simple screwing" is unintentionally humorous in English. In American English, "screwing" can also mean "fucking" = ficken in German, I believe. So I reworded that slightly.
--AK--> many thanks! You see, my english is really far from being perfect ;)
--AK--> no, the music instruments of Theodore S. are in the Staedtisches Museum Braunschweig.
  • You had four references in angle brackets < > at the bottom of the article that should have been in-line citations, but I didn't know where to place them, so I left them there.
--AK--> I would have to read several books again to be able to produce inline references, eventually with page numbers.. <shy>. When I read the books several weeks ago I did not think about some potential referenced contributions to the WP-EN.. First I will leave them also there at the end but as I know me and as I allways try "deep drilling" into my knowledge stuff I will at any time in the future read again the books - and remind myself to tell references with accuracy.
  • Also: I realized too late that for the English Wikipedia, this article should have been titled with his anglicized name: C. F. Theodore Steinway, with a redirect from the German spelling. But I don't know how to do all that, so I hope some other editor will fix it.
--AK--> this could be done with an "article move" function but because I handled this only in the WP-DE and always needed the help function for this, I would not dare to do same in the WP EN.. ;) An experienced WP-EN editor can do this quite simply. -- AxelKingg (talk) 21:38, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I omitted the juicy details about William's wife; perhaps that material would be better placed in an article about William, but it has no relevance here.
--AK--> well done, and even if they should be told in Willie's article is a little bit in doubt for me. I estimate the Steinway company very much and don't want to cause anger to them, but these juicy stories were some 140yrs ago.. But for accuracy (and fairness to the owners of these really fascinating old grands) the true Mangeot-Steinway story should be told at any time, off of the commercial interests of the S&S comp. And Regina Roos S. belonged to this story also. IMHO it is expressis verbis NOT Ok that they tell to have no documents on this and try to cover this very part of their history... They MUST have documents: Later on there were several lawsuits in France against the Mangeot comp.: they treid to keep the Mangeot comp. away from using the rest of material sent, when the Hamburg branch opened and grew a competitor to Mangeot. S&S sometimes behaved bullish with the use of lawyers and put MUCH legal pressure on their contrahents.. They must have a dark room (one??) for "citationally unwanted" documents in their archives.. -- AxelKingg (talk) 21:38, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
  • BTW, did Theodore have a wife or children? You didn't mention any.
--AK--> yes, he was married and the marriage was happy, but the couple had no children. Maybe that at next weekend I go on search for his wife's name.

Let me know if I can be of further help. Textorus (talk) 18:40, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Also the modified wordings of Ehrenkater look very OK for me. Please Textorus & Ehrenkater feel free to choose, according to your understanding of "good sounding english" - I cannot decide this, I regret, I only could find no errors in both versions. As I am a gambler - in the German language - and pianoplaying is sometimes thought as being a little bit "snobby" - and Germans sometimes look jealously when referencing to this piano brand.. it might be an idea to use some "polished upper class wording" .. ;-) .. hehe -- AxelKingg (talk) 22:02, 13 September 2010 (UTC)