Steinway & Sons' Model A grand piano is a timeless piece of musical history, built in the mid-1890s and renowned for its exceptional sound and craftsmanship. Initially created in Hamburg in 1853 by brothers Heinrich and Charles Steinway, the company relocated to New York City in 1855. The Model A was introduced as a scaled down version of the company's original "Classic" model, which had just been released.
In many respects, the Model A closely resembled the Classic model, from the shellac finish to the sturdy cast iron plate. However, the Model A was nine inches shorter than the Classic, and featured shorter strings, therefore producing a slightly mellower tone. The construction and design of the piano drew upon classic European influences, while embracing qualities that were distinctively American.
The Model A was first produced in 1897, and was especially popular with small ensembles who desired a grand piano of exquisite craftsmanship yet modest size. Its tone was described as "singing and sweet," and as having a "big overall sound."
The Model A was particularly significant not only from a musical standpoint, but also for exemplifying Steinway & Sons' larger influence on the cultural and political spheres. It was a symbol of progress in American piano making, and was displayed at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893, where it was celebrated for its quality of craftsmanship.
Moreover, due to its shorter size, the Model A allowed many Americans the opportunity to own a grand piano, which was previously unaffordable. This piano was also produced during the Spanish-American War, highlighting its larger significance which went far beyond the realm of music.
The Steinway & Sons Model A grand piano is an integral part of piano history, boasting an exceptional tone and timeless craftsmanship. Furthermore, its cultural and political significance have cemented its place in history as one of the greatest models of piano ever produced.