Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929

Posted by: Piano World

Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/15/09 10:05 PM

Received this email, decided to check it out.

I think I like this better than the factory tour they give now :-)

The Making of a Steinway Piano - Circa 1929



Mr. Baxter,
We wanted to tell you about an exciting project currently underway at
the La Guardia and Wagner Archives. We recently digitized many of the
videos from our collections including several from the Steinway
collection. The digital videos are currently being edited with purpose
of posting them on YouTube. We are excited to announce that The Making
of a Steinway, which is dated on or around 1929, has just been added to
our YouTube channel (which can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEnuMbyw1eE ). The YouTube version of
the video was edited at the Archives by Samuel Lieberman and is in the
style of a silent movie complete with interstitial tiles and a ragtime
soundtrack. A Super 8 camera follows craftsmen through the heart of the
Queens factory, capturing the process of creating the world’s premier
piano, unchanged to this day. In the unedited version, Henry Steinway, a
great grandson of the founder, provides voiceover narration.


The Making of a Steinway is the second Steinway video to be added to
our YouTube channel. The first was a video of the restoration of an 1858
Steinway (found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaIqhp33-Uw ).


We hope you enjoy them.


Sincerely,
Casey Babcock



Casey Babcock
La Guardia and Wagner Archives
Assistant Archivist
LaGuardia Community College/CUNY
31-10 Thomson Ave., Room E-238
Long Island City, NY 11101
Posted by: eweiss

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/15/09 10:15 PM

Well, I for one never knew all that went into making a piano. Cool video!
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/15/09 10:52 PM

Originally Posted By: eweiss
Well, I for one never knew all that went into making a piano. Cool video!


Then you might enjoy this video as well...

http://www.pianoworld.com/how-a-piano-is-made.html
Posted by: carey

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/16/09 12:41 AM

The 1929 video is fascinating !!

Interesting to see how only males were involved in building Steinways 80 years ago !!
Posted by: Tilan123

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/16/09 01:25 AM

not really that interesting. society wasnt that open to women. we can all admit that. i dont think adding women into factory would have made things any better or worse either! i personally dont think its good to look back at history and be stuck with it stating that women didnt get to do much. Its almost eqauling*woops i made up a word i think* up today as theres many dis-advantages for men! My mate gets charged %50 more than women just becuase he is a 25 year old male driver. People can say that thats sexist. So feminism shouldnt come into pianos:)
Posted by: Seneca

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/16/09 12:32 PM

This is great!

And from before the talkies. With piano accompaniment just like silent film!

If anyone is interested, there are a number of other youtube videos about piano manufacturing. There is one focusing on Mason & Hamlin (part of a PBS series, How Things are Made, with bad soundtrack, but interesting). A couple of the German manufacturers have videos--the Bosendorfer stuff is chopped in little two and three minute segments, the August Foerster one is coherent and well done and the Grotrian piece is a real stitch. Grotrian's offering was put together by the French dealer, and could be an example of French New Wave film making crashing on the rock of German manufacturing. It's my personal favorite so far, but there may be others. I'm not sure to what extent these postings are sponsored, authorized or merely tolerated, but they are all interesting. And they are easy enough to find using the youtube search feature.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/16/09 07:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano World
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Well, I for one never knew all that went into making a piano. Cool video!


Then you might enjoy this video as well...

http://www.pianoworld.com/how-a-piano-is-made.html

Very good video except for the pianist they got to play for the first 20 seconds. He makes mistakes in the rhythm and notes and plays the accompanying figure much too loud.
Posted by: Seeker

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/16/09 07:30 PM

Thank you SO much for putting this video up for us. I was intrigued by how ROUND the hammer head shapes were in those days in the scene where the voicer was doing rapid repeated needling. And from the way he was jabbing during his coarse voicing, I'd guess the hammers he was working weren't rock hard.

If Steinway still makes pianos the same way, the pianos REALLY are hand made, aren't they?

Thanks again.
Posted by: sophial

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/16/09 07:37 PM

There's also a wonderful DVD "Note by Note" that shows the making of a Steinway D with great interviews of workers, Henry Steinway and various pianists such as Bill Charlap, Pierre Laurent Aimard, and others (I think Helene Grimaud is in there too) as well as footage of the building process. It's very well done.
Posted by: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/16/09 08:05 PM

Originally Posted By: carey
The 1929 video is fascinating !!

Interesting to see how only males were involved in building Steinways 80 years ago !!


Great find!!!

BTW I saw a skirt in the action department. I hope it was not a hairy Italian man wearing it. laugh
Posted by: carey

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/17/09 12:51 AM

We'll never know !!!

And actually I'm not in the least bit surprised that it was an all male assembly line back then - and white males at that. The world has definitely changed for the better.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/17/09 01:09 AM

I am not certain where they would have found a Super 8 camera in 1929. It seems unlikely that one would have fallen through a time warp.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/17/09 11:11 AM

I enjoyed this video. Thank you.

I wish I could hear an interview with each of the workers. It would be very cool to get some perspective on their thoughts - the job they do and how it relates to the piano as a whole.
Posted by: timbo77

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/24/09 04:47 PM

The film starts and ends with a print ("The Making of a Steinway") which comes from a brochure produced by Steinway at around the same time (I happen to own a copy, which is why I recognised it). Steinway commissioned the Art Deco master Winold Reiss to produce a series of woodcuts following the making of a Steinway. That brochure and this promotional film pretty much follow the same story and seem to have been the product of the same marketing drive.

The film is dated 1929 so I assume it was put together before the Wall Street Crash. Perhaps that calamitous event was the reason the film was never released?
Posted by: Horowitzian

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/24/09 04:52 PM

Thanks for posting this. Most fascinating to see all the old-timey workmen building the pianos. Perhaps one of our resident rebuilders has rebuilt one of the pianos seen in the film. smile
Posted by: analogdino

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/24/09 05:54 PM

Great movie... thanks. but "A Super 8 camera follows craftsmen through the heart of the Queens factory..." In 1929? I think not! They may have had 35 mm then but I'm not at all sure, anyway the quality would then have been higher. Perhaps 16 mm? But not, IMHO, 8 mm of any sort!
Any film experts out there?
Cheers,
Roger
Posted by: SPOFF

Re: Video - Making of a Steinway - 1929 - 07/26/09 03:13 PM

Probably 35mm, maybe 16mm if it was a low budget.

Someone should tell Steinway it definately wasn't videotape.

What surprised me was the team of men pouring molten iron without a trace of safety gear save some leather gloves. Men were expected to be careful back then. Today with OSHA and a thousand other government cry-baby agencies -- not to mention 20 million tort lawyers -- I'm surprised anyone is even allowed to make a piano.