Steingraeber & Söhne History

1800 Birth of Gottlieb Steingraeber

1801 Birth of Christian Steingraeber

1820 Foundation of piano workshop Arnshauck, Thuringia, by Gottlieb Steingraeber. Christian Steingraeber runs his own organ-workshop at Rudolstadt, Thuringia

8/20/1823 Birth of Eduard Steingraeber, Christian Steingraeber’s son. Apprenticed by his uncle Gottlieb Steingraeber at Neustadt an der Orla

3/17/1852 Eduard Steingraeber passes his master craftman’s examination

8/17/1852 Foundation of the Steingraeber pianoforte factory in Bayreuth

19th century Steingraeber quickly becomes the largest piano factory in Bavaria, and is at the service of the Bavarian royal house and the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg.

National and international exhibitions featuring award-winning Steingraeber pianos:
Paris 1867 – Hamburg 1869 – Eger (now Cheb)1871 and 1881 – Vienna 1873 – Nuremberg 1882 and 1896

5/7/1875 Richard Wagner’s first personal order to deliver a piano

1876 First Bayreuth Festival, Steingraeber supplies pianos for the Festival and the Wagner family

8/8/1881 Eduard Steingraeber is commissioned by Richard Wagner to make a special piano for the temple scenes in “Parsifal“. (leitmotif of the bells of the Holy Grail) The instrument is made and used at the première performance and later intermittently at the Bayreuth Festival until 1974. (recording: «Parsifal», Philharmony of Viennese, Sir G. Solti, Decca 1973)

1/1/1892 Georg and Burkhard, sons of Eduard Steingraeber, join the company. Both dedicate themselves to the development of keyboard instrument making: harpsichords in the case of Georg – later in Berlin – upright and grand pianos in the case of Burkhard, who later takes over sole management of the factory.
7/5/1896 the first concert grand piano “Concertflügel 265” is ready – exhibition in Nuremberg where it gets a golden award.

1898 Moving into the new workshops building

1900, Juli Completion of opus Nr. 10 000, a salon grand 200

1/12/1901 Imperial patent certificate to Burkhard Steingraeber for the invention of the “grand piano mechanism with new repetition springs“

20th century – Steingraeber & Söhne continues as a family-run business, managed by Burkhard Steingraeber’s son in-law, Heinrich Herrmann, who writes a doctoral thesis in 1928 on the subject: “The Regensburg piano makers Späth and Schmahl and their “tangent grand piano“.

1932 Heinrich Schmidt-Steingraeber, nephew of Heinrich Herrmann, joins the company.

1944/45 at the end of war production of munitions crates

1948/49 production of casing for radios for Grundig, Fürth
1951 marriage of Heinrich und Magdalene Schmidt.

1960-62 Heinrich Schmidt modernizes the factory

1966,December Completion of opus nr. 30 000, a small upright piano model 107

1972 concentration of the family enterprise on two owners Heinrich and Magdalene Schmidt – new beginning of production of grand pianos

1980 Udo Schmidt-Steingraeber, Heinrich Schmidt-Steingraeber’s son, becomes manager of the Steingraeber which is still run as a family-enterprise.

1981-1993 Modernising of workshops under maintenance of the artisanal character of production.

1982 New construction-design, upright model 130, until today the big seller of Steingraeber.

1982 Foundation of the STEINGRAEBER COURT THEATER and the STEINGRAEBER GALERY for contemporary art

1983 New construction-design, grand model 205, a chamber concert grand piano.

1984 First fair in Asia, Singapore.

1985 New construction-design, grand model 162,with a new, unusual form of the soundboard.

1985 First fair in the USA – since then regular presentations in different states of the USA.

1986 New construction-design, model 138, the biggest concert upright piano

awards* in the Paris piano contests 1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004
Steingraeber & Söhne obtains the DIAPASON D’OR and several times the CHOC
of the juries of the magazines “Le monde de la musique“ and “Diapason“ for the following models (partly several times): pianos 130 K, 130 PS, 138 and the grand pianos 168 and 205 * each within top-class-manufacturers

1989 New construction-design, upright model 122, with a new ‚double‘-soundboard system.

1990 New construction-design, upright model 116 T

1993 New construction-design, upright model 130 Profi Studio with sostenuto pedal new piano action –
new repetition facility (patent) – ‚grand-piano-touch‘

1994 New construction-design, upright model 110

1994 7th Steingraeber generation, ∗ Alban – son of Cordelia and Udo Schmidt-Steingraeber is born

1995 175-year-anniversary

1997 7th Steingraeber generation, ∗ Fanny – daughter of Cordelia and Udo Schmidt-Steingraeber is born

1997 New grand piano model 168 as (extension of model 162).
1998 Conclusion of the substantional restauration of the 244-year-old Steingraeber House

1999 Conclusion (provisionally!) of the substantional restauration of the 100-years-old manufactory

1999 Innovation-award for the first ceramic covered keyboard on the market.

1997-2002 new construction design of a concert grand piano E-272

1985-2000 Development of special types of pianos: e.g. repetition facility, equipment for composers, glass fibre lighting for show pianos, pedals for disabled persons, ecological pianos,anti-allergy pianos

3/13/2002 presentation of the concert grand piano E-272 at Frankfurt music fair

3/13/2002 world premier of a revolution in piano technique: the rolling knuckles (patent J.Meingast in a Steingraeber 168)

7/20/2002 new play on the Steingraeber Courtyard Theatre: „Der Walkürenritt“ – by Uwe Hoppe, one actor and one piano and the comedy around.

7/24/2002 celebration of the 150th anniversary and opening of the exhibition “The world of the piano” with 400 guests. Concert at the Bayreuth Margrave Opera House with Cyprien Katsaris at the E-272 – messages and congratulation from Daniel Barenboim, Alfred Brendel, Kurt Masur, federal president J.Rau and many more.

3/5/2003 The first piano made by 100% resonance-wood: presentation of the 117 SI in Francfurt.
Steingraeber concert hall: Rokoko Saal, STEINGRAEBER HAUS, Bayreuth theatre: STEINGRAEBER HOFTHEATER since 1982, during the festival period, STEINGRAEBER GALERIE for contemporary art

March 2004 E-272 III the first from a series is presented at the Frankfurt Music Fair – 34 Festivals-Competitions-Tours where supplied with the new spectacular concert grand within 2 ½ years in the US and Europe.

2004 250th anniversary of the Steingraeber House: Conclusion of the substantional restauration in the historical sites

2007 New construction: semi concert grand D-232

2007 Rating 1A in USA: the piano book specifies the ranking and limits the uppermost level to 5 manufacturers only (in alphabetical order: Blüthner, Bösendorfer, Fazioli, Steingraeber & Söhne, Steinway-Hamburg [-nyc: “1C”].

2007 Provisional completion of the renovation of the Steingraeber manufactory by installing a photo voltaic plant

2007 The historical Steingraeber manufactory located at the Steingraeber Passage is renovated: the new chamber music room is constructed including an apartment for the artists and a selection room for concert grands: each climate in the world can be adjusted; the acoustics can be adjusted from 0.9 up to 2.1 seconds.

2008 Bavarian state award for the new energy conservation system
Design award “Seitensprünge” for the conception “multi functional grand piano house in the historical Steingraeber manufactory”