Older Steinway piano dating

Posted by: StephaneCollin

Older Steinway piano dating - 05/20/13 11:27 AM

Hello Pianoworld.

I am new here.
May I ask advice about dating an older Steinway grand piano ?
The instrument is 200 cm long, cross strung, 3/4 plate (stopping in front of the pinblock, which is apparent and oblique), "Steinway & Sons New York" casted in the plate at the treble side, soundboard grain perpendicular to the large side, sort of English action (!) with multi layer underfelt small hammers, turned legs, burled walnut veneer, beautiful long and warm sound, and the only number I can see is on every case part (cheeks, partition holder, keyboard lid, etc.)
My problem is : this number is 411. If this were the serial number, it would contradict the fact that the first New-York Steinway was number 483 (which you often read). If it is not, does anyone know the relation between this case number and the serial number ? The thing looks like in original condition and having been very scarcely played.

Thanks for any information
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Older Steinway piano dating - 05/20/13 02:51 PM

Hello Stephane,

The one thing that is certain - is that nothing is absolutely certain.

Heinrich Steinweg arrived in New York in the summer of 1850 and for a few years worked with Leuchte building soundboards.

One possible solution is that you are reading a "cabinet number" and not a serial number. This is likely because as far as I am aware Steinway built their first piano in that range in 1859, although it was 7'2". The first piano built that is exactly 200 cm. size was built in the 1860's, well beyond the three digit serial numbers.

Another possible solution is that one digit of the serial number is obscured and the piano is actually newer than you think by a few years.

My two cents,
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Older Steinway piano dating - 05/20/13 08:54 PM

I only date younger Steinways. They're much more fun(it's the leggs, sorry), and usually on weekends when their not too busy.
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Older Steinway piano dating - 05/21/13 01:32 AM

If you could post a picture looking as straight down over the soundboard that would help. Also a side view of the action out of the case.

If it has the "Patent Action" there are not many of those remaining.