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#1988335 - 11/18/12 11:40 PM "No more Hitler pianos"
newgeneration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
This was an article posted just this past Saturday in the Toronto Star paper. It offers an interesting historical perspective on the piano industry here in North America.
Enjoy.

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/mus...XB1OcQ.facebook
_________________________
John
J.D. Grandt Piano Supply Company
Steingraeber & Söhne (Canada) www.facebook.com/SteingraeberCanada
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Piano Bass String Manufacturing Specialist (Worldwide) www.jdgrandt.com

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#1988337 - 11/18/12 11:58 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Guapo Gabacho Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/23/11
Posts: 430
Loc: Rio Grande Valley of Texas
Not interesting at all.
_________________________
'86 Baldwin SF-10

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#1988345 - 11/19/12 12:26 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
newgeneration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Guapo,
You don't find it interesting that a considerable amount of Steinway's popularity rests on the fact that other more popular brands at that time were potentially boycotted in North America?
The lack of selection and competition following the war that the article seems to be suggesting, would surely have been a helpful circumstance giving Steinway somewhat of a monopoly in the US market. At least where good quality, high end pianos are concerned.

I've never heard this line of thought before and it is quite interesting when you think about it.
_________________________
John
J.D. Grandt Piano Supply Company
Steingraeber & Söhne (Canada) www.facebook.com/SteingraeberCanada
Lomence Modern Crystal Piano (North America) www.facebook.com/LomencePianos
Piano Bass String Manufacturing Specialist (Worldwide) www.jdgrandt.com

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#1988348 - 11/19/12 12:53 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1601
Loc: Toronto
I found it interesting as well. But in all fairness John, the article also plugs your store which makes your motives for posting this seem to have an ulterior motive as well.

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#1988354 - 11/19/12 01:26 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
newgeneration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that it 'plugs [my] store'. More accurately Steingraeber pianos in a broad sense perhaps.
wink
It is genuinely interesting nonetheless.
_________________________
John
J.D. Grandt Piano Supply Company
Steingraeber & Söhne (Canada) www.facebook.com/SteingraeberCanada
Lomence Modern Crystal Piano (North America) www.facebook.com/LomencePianos
Piano Bass String Manufacturing Specialist (Worldwide) www.jdgrandt.com

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#1988411 - 11/19/12 07:36 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8414
Loc: Georgia, USA
I wish we could let Hitler rest and not use Piano World to promote his legacy, whether it has anything to do with pianos or not.

Fact is, he is one of the most vile, murderous and hideous human beings in the history of mankind.

Also, while I’m on my soap-box, I can’t see, for the life of me, how any association with Hitler could possibly be a positive thing when it comes to pianos.

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1988412 - 11/19/12 07:39 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9141
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
John,

The article takes an interesting angle, but it states facts that are simply false. For instance:

"Steinway, which had been third in popularity behind Bechstein and Bluethner before the war, suddenly leapt to the forefront in North America..."

In fact, Bechstein and Bluethner, which built great pianos, had little interest in any kind of major distribution in the United States or Canada. They did not make enough pianos for that and they were kept busy by European demand.

If we look at the most popular time for all three manufacturers, the late 1920's, Steinway's production was more than double the total of both of these manufacturers (pretty much the reason why).

There are other factors to discuss as well and I am sure others will bring them up, but that statement, which builds the premise for the article, is just wrong.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#1988438 - 11/19/12 08:59 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
FWIW: H. played a Bechstein!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Bechstein_Pianofortefabrik#Between_the_wars

(I'm a Jew with a Bösendorfer; I couldn't find any evidence that they had any extraordinary participation or association with the war, other than putting its workers and factory to use for the war effort. Their official story is that they "closed" during the War.)


Edited by Thrill Science (11/19/12 09:02 AM)
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Robert Swirsky
Thrill Science, Inc.

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#1988441 - 11/19/12 09:04 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: Rich Galassini]
newgeneration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Hi Rich,

I too found it a bit surprising about Steinway taking third place throughout the earlier part of the last century, and this is why I found the article quite an interesting read. (And yes, I was involved in being interviewed for this piece, yet believe me when I say that I share the view of Rickster - and definitely didn't offer that angle to the writer).

But, I think you are reading more into the article then what is there.....:

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini

"Steinway, which had been third in popularity behind Bechstein and Bluethner before the war, suddenly leapt to the forefront in North America..."

In fact, Bechstein and Bluethner, which built great pianos, had little interest in any kind of major distribution in the United States or Canada. They did not make enough pianos for that and they were kept busy by European demand.


... I think the writer considered that before the 40's, looking at the global piano manufacturing scene as a whole, Bechstein and Bluethner stood ahead of Steinway and at that time, North America did not have a particular brand considered to be utterly ahead of another. In the early decades of the 1900's America had many formidable piano makers like Chickering and Baldwin, etc. that Americans should also not forget and be very proud of!

I think what he is describing is that only after the 40's did Steinway truly emerge as 'the' American piano manufacturing leader. Prior to this, there wasn't one North American piano that really held a huge market share on its own.


Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
John,

In fact, Bechstein and Bluethner, which built great pianos, had little interest in any kind of major distribution in the United States or Canada. They did not make enough pianos for that and they were kept busy by European demand.

If we look at the most popular time for all three manufacturers, the late 1920's, Steinway's production was more than double the total of both of these manufacturers (pretty much the reason why).


Well if we follow this logic that the largest production volume must be the most popular, then oh dear, everyone nowadays must have their heart set on a Pearl River.

One of the interesting aspects of this article deals with things that have taken place over 60 years ago, (so no need for any Americans to get overly sensitive and defensive) and I found this information offered by the writer very interesting.
To state the the information is completely false, I wouldn't arrive at that conclusion so quickly for the simple fact that there were many very well made American pianos in the first part of the 1900's, who produced a good number of pianos and were quite popular in their day.
_________________________
John
J.D. Grandt Piano Supply Company
Steingraeber & Söhne (Canada) www.facebook.com/SteingraeberCanada
Lomence Modern Crystal Piano (North America) www.facebook.com/LomencePianos
Piano Bass String Manufacturing Specialist (Worldwide) www.jdgrandt.com

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#1988442 - 11/19/12 09:04 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Entheo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 1111
Loc: chicago, il
certainly subsequent to the war an ironclad case could be made to boycott bechsteins, as the family was a strong supporter of the third reich and hosted many affairs with hitler. but not unlike many other civilian populations manipulated by their ruling propaganda machines many germans tacitly accepted hitler for the economic good he had done (remember, they were under great duress from the versailles treaty prior to his assuming power) even tho they were uneasy with his warmaking. and anti semitism was de facto throughout europe at the time.

but as these things go, it's much easier to lump everyone into the same pot and not discriminate, much like the US jihad against the american indians subsequent to little bighorn after the indians got fed up with the broken treaties and pushed back a little.
_________________________
diary of an amateur pianist

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#1988563 - 11/19/12 02:05 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9141
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: newgeneration
Well if we follow this logic that the largest production volume must be the most popular, then oh dear, everyone nowadays must have their heart set on a Pearl River.


John,

You can follow that logic, but "largest volume" has nothing at all to do with my comment. The only reason I brought it up was to help demonstrate that Bluthner and Bechstein did not have interest in North American distribution at that time, and in fact, could not produce the inventory to accomplish it.

Cheers,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#1988579 - 11/19/12 03:00 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: Rich Galassini]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: NewGeneration (from William Littler's article)
Udo Steingraeber, the sixth-generation head of his family’s piano factory in Bayreuth, Germany, offers an explanation for this state of affairs: “Led by Artur Rubinstein and Arthur Schnabel, there was a reaction against German instruments at the end of the war, with leading pianists declaring ‘no more Hitler pianos.’ ”

Steinway, which had been third in popularity behind Bechstein and Bluethner before the war, suddenly leapt to the forefront in North America, in part by virtue of being headquartered in New York as well as Hamburg. It has retained its pre-eminence with concert pianists ever since.


To put things in perspective, here are production figures for the top four German makers by volume (based on serial numbers):

1880-1900
Steinway 52,000
Bechstein 42,505
Bluthner 36,500
Ibach 30,800

1900-1920
Steinway 105,000 (+102%)
Bechstein 61,602 (+45%)
Bluthner 45,000 (+23%)
Ibach 43,500 (+41%)

1920-1940
Steinway 100,000 (-5%)
Bechstein 28,107 (-54%)
Bluthner 25,500 (-43%)
Ibach 16,200 (-63%)

Steinway includes NY and Hamburg.


Edited by Withindale (11/23/12 02:11 AM)
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1988596 - 11/19/12 04:07 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Which is why the writer of the story mangled his conclusion. His facts were quite wrong. WWII did not establish Steinway in the market.

P.S. What were the production numbers for Chickering and Knabe in the 1880-1920 period?
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Grotrian 192 #156455

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#1988598 - 11/19/12 04:14 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
carey Online   content
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6218
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona

"Udo Steingraeber, the sixth-generation head of his family’s piano factory in Bayreuth, Germany, offers an explanation for this state of affairs: “Led by Artur Rubinstein and Arthur Schnabel, there was a reaction against German instruments at the end of the war, with leading pianists declaring ‘no more Hitler pianos.’ ”

The "reaction" was certainly understandable at the time - but for crying out loud - that was 67 years ago !!!! The world has moved on.

Consider how well Yamaha and Kawai have done since the war........
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1988614 - 11/19/12 04:55 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Crow Wing Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/09
Posts: 34
But popular in retail means more people buy it. ("This is our most popular model," says the sales person. "How many units haves you sold?" asks the customer. "None, but many people admire it.") Regardless of the foregoing, the head of Steingraeber explains the relative loss of sales in the US to the leadership of two outstanding Jewish pianists in the post-war years, whose influence continues even from their graves. Quite a theory. The journalist could have been a bit more skeptical.

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#1988631 - 11/19/12 05:43 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England


Hitler's Superflügel, if you haven't seen it before, thanks to Michael Szécsényi.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1988685 - 11/19/12 08:20 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1903
Loc: Philadelphia area
Withindale, What are the figures after the war? The world economy was suffering a depression through the 30's.

(Not that I think this rates as proof of popularity. Just wondering)

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#1988698 - 11/19/12 08:55 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: Rich Galassini]
newgeneration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Withindale,
I have just completed a new set of bass strings for a Schiedmayer & Soehne for a technician client in Quebec. I had never come across one of these pianos before and here I see from your signature that you own one. A good instrument? How would you describe it?

It would be interesting to see the production of the other big American piano makers throughout the 1900's. Just a quick look at wiki and you find the following about Baldwin:

By 1963, the company had acquired C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik and remained its owner until 1986. In 1965, Baldwin constructed a new piano manufacturing plant in Conway, Arkansas, originally to manufacture upright pianos: by 1973, the company had built 1,000,000 upright pianos.

1,000,000 uprights alone....and they managed to do this with manufacturing in only one country. Add to that Mason & Hamlin, Chickering, Knabe, etc. - quite a good pedigree of piano making there.
_________________________
John
J.D. Grandt Piano Supply Company
Steingraeber & Söhne (Canada) www.facebook.com/SteingraeberCanada
Lomence Modern Crystal Piano (North America) www.facebook.com/LomencePianos
Piano Bass String Manufacturing Specialist (Worldwide) www.jdgrandt.com

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#1988701 - 11/19/12 09:02 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: Thrill Science]
newgeneration Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Richmond Hill, Ontario
Originally Posted By: Thrill Science
FWIW: H. played a Bechstein!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._Bechstein_Pianofortefabrik#Between_the_wars

(I'm a Jew with a Bösendorfer; I couldn't find any evidence that they had any extraordinary participation or association with the war, other than putting its workers and factory to use for the war effort. Their official story is that they "closed" during the War.)


How ironic - H. played a Bechstein.
German pianos are boycotted for a time.
Then in 1961, the owner of Baldwin, an American, Harvard grad see's fit to purchase the Bechstein pianofabrik.
_________________________
John
J.D. Grandt Piano Supply Company
Steingraeber & Söhne (Canada) www.facebook.com/SteingraeberCanada
Lomence Modern Crystal Piano (North America) www.facebook.com/LomencePianos
Piano Bass String Manufacturing Specialist (Worldwide) www.jdgrandt.com

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#1988820 - 11/20/12 04:42 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: Dave B]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Dave B
Withindale, What are the figures after the war? The world economy was suffering a depression through the 30's.


Dave

Yes, you can see the effect of the depression in the 1920-40 percentage reduction in sales.

I'm away for a few days but I'll add the figures for 1940-2000 at the weekend.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1988825 - 11/20/12 05:26 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: newgeneration
Withindale,
I have just completed a new set of bass strings for a Schiedmayer & Soehne for a technician client in Quebec. I had never come across one of these pianos before and here I see from your signature that you own one. A good instrument? How would you describe it?


English piano technicians who know Schiedmayer & Soehne pianos say, "Their pianos were of exceptional quality" and "We like the sheer quality of all their instruments from the 1890s. The tone is mellow, but with a solid bass."

Mine had its original parts, apart from bridle tapes, and had not been heavily used when I bought it a couple of years ago.

When he first saw it the tuner said it was as good as many a 6 foot grand. Since then it has a lot of regulation and the dynamic and tonal ranges have greatly improved.

I have no good yardstick for comparison but its tone was nearest to a new Steingraeber 138 I tried at Marksons in London the other day. The Steingraeber sounded a bit brighter and immediate, perhaps a bit more refined with agraffes and so on, and over 85 years younger!

Another major dealer had a restored pre-WWII Steinway V-125, which I spotted due to its similarly massive back posts, but it was immediately obvious that the Schiedmayer was the better instrument today.

Pfeiffer is the remaining piano maker near Stuttgart where Schiedmayers were made. The city has a reputation for the quality of its products: Bosch, Mercedes, etc.

It would be interesting to hear how Udo Steingraeber would compare his current pianos with those made by the leading names in the Golden Age, or Blauzeit, in Germany.


Edited by Withindale (11/20/12 12:17 PM)
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1988827 - 11/20/12 05:29 AM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1923
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: newgeneration
It would be interesting to see the production of the other big American piano makers throughout the 1900's.


Yes, it would. Does anyone have the figures?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#1989572 - 11/21/12 08:42 PM Re: "No more Hitler pianos" [Re: newgeneration]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
It would be interesting to hear how Udo Steingraeber would compare his current pianos with those made by the leading names in the Golden Age, or Blauzeit, in Germany.





The way I know Udo would most likely be: "we are continuing the Golden Age with our present pianos".

But then he is not the only one in Germany who would say that...

Norbert wink


Edited by Norbert (11/21/12 08:45 PM)
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