“Strive always to improve the instrument.”
–Henry E. Steinway
The very first Steinway & Sons patent was granted in 1857, and the company has been granted more than 125 additional patents since, positioning the Steinway as the piano by which all others are judged.
August 18, 1936 • Patent #2051633
The soundboard lies at the heart of a Steinway grand or upright. The current production of the Steinway & Sons soundboard is based on a 1936 patent to achieve optimum performance in dynamic range, and maximum sustain. Under this patent, the soundboard is gradually tapered from the center to the edge, permitting freedom of movement and creating a sound of unparalleled richness, sonority, and sustain.
Steinway sells their soundboards to no one, since the skill, expertise and machinery necessary to replace a soundboard is only available at the Steinway factory. So if a used Steinway was restored somewhere other than the Steinway Restoration Center, it may still have the Steinway & Sons trademark logo on it, but if it doesn’t have a genuine Steinway soundboard, it has lost the internal magic that makes it a Steinway.
May 28, 1963 • Patent #3091149
Due to the unique design of the Steinway pinblock all Steinways hold their tuning longer. The secret lies in the grain of the wood. The grain of each layer is positioned at 45 degrees to the grain in the next layer. As a result, the tuning pins are exposed on all sides to the tenacious grip of the maple’s end grain. The tighter the grip on the tuning pins, the longer the piano stays in tune.