Steinway & Sons Square Grand Piano, Pre-Civil War, 1857, Brazilian Rosewood

Category Musical Instruments & Gear Pianos, Keyboards & Organs Pianos Grand & Baby Grand Pianos

Current price $11,500.00

Listing type Chinese

Location La Verne, California 917** US

Quantity sold 0

Quantity available 1

Bids 0

Seller themisttrail (72)

Seller rating 100% positive feedback

MPN 1868

Number Of Keys 76

Number Of Pedals 2

Brand Steinway & Sons

Type Antique Square Grand

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This piano was one of the earliest and most elaborate square grand models of the Victorian era. It is the smallest and most traditional square built by Steinway & Sons and were manufactured only from 1853 to 1860.
The way in which the square piano grew in popularity can be clearly seen in this powerful instrument. This Steinway & Sons design, with a full iron frame, is probably the most powerful type of square piano ever built. Even the lid weighs more than those of most grand pianos. When the lid is raised, the sound is reflected directly at the player, further enhancing the power of the instrument.
The piano is flat-strung and has only a hitch-plate and two bars. The pin-block is otherwise unsupported. Steinway’s first New York piano, #483, was a cross-strung square, but for over 10 years the company also built squares and grands which were flat-strung. If it is true that smaller squares were the most musical squares, this #1868 should be a musical gem.
The piano is made of the Rococo Victorian Style. The case is made of stunning Brazilian rosewood, and it is of the desirable cabriolet leg style with carved music rack and pedal lyre.
The original stool, with cushion still containing the original horsehair, is included.
Model: #1868
Circa: 1857
Weight: Approximately 600 lbs.
Size: Height 37" x Width 72" x Depth 35"
Type: Flat-strung, 76 note
Finish: Brazilian Rosewood
Status: Restored (1977)
The origins of the square piano can be traced directly to the clavichord, with which it shares a rectangular (not square) shape and basic layout of strings and soundboard. The keyboard is positioned along one of the broad sides, and the strings run horizontally at right angles to the keys.
Backers, who worked in London from 1763 to 1778, and Zumpe both took Cristofori's action as the starting point for their innovations. The early Zumpe pianos were crude. The action had no escapement, making it impossible to play the same note repeatedly, nor was there any form of hammer check, meaning that the hammer could easily bounce back and re-hit the string. Zumpe rectified some of these problems in the early 1780s with his double action, though it still had no escapement.
In 1825, an American, Alpheus Babcock, developed the first iron frame for the piano, which enabled far greater tension to be applied to the strings. Jonas Chickering took the design a stage further and most other manufacturers followed suit.
By the 1840s, the square piano was as wide as a medium sized grand piano, and heavier. In the concert hall, the square piano had one advantage over the grand piano: the direct line of view from the audience to the pianist. But for domestic use people wanted something smaller. European manufacturers had been experimenting with upright designs for many years, but the Americans persisted with the square format. The last commercial square pianos were built in England in around 1860, but in America production continued. As late as 1868, eighty percent of Steinway's output was still square pianos.
This piano is registered with the Steinway Company. They have it listed as being manufactured in their New York City factory in 1857.
In 1857, the piano was purchased by the Niles family and was delivered by freight wagon from the Steinway Company factory in New York to the Niles' residence located in The Dakota Territory. There the piano resided until the turn of the 20th century when the piano was offered as a wedding gift to their daughter and sent by train and by wagon to her and her husband's homestead located in Capay, California. Around 1930, the piano was inherited by the family's daughter (Granddaughter of the Niles family) and was moved to the daughter's home located in Merced, California. During that chapter of the piano's history, the piano was taken apart, covered, and stored in a basement. In 1976, upon the passing of the daughter, the piano was inherited by her niece (Great-granddaughter of the Niles family) and moved to her niece's residence in Southern California. The piano was overall in great shape, however, it was in need of restoration. In 1977, the piano went under a complete and meticulous restoration. After the restoration and after some time residing at the niece's residence, between 1990 and 2017, the piano was periodically loaned to the Fiske Museum in Claremont, California, as well as the Period Piano Center Museum located in Redlands, California, for public viewing. The piano now resides at the niece's residence in La Verne, California.
In 1977, this piano went through a complete functional restoration which included replacing (as needed) felts, hammers, detailed red cording around the soundboard, keys (After 120+ years and many rough and long distance moves for the time period, many of the original ivory keys had been damaged and were replaced with plastic.), strings, hardware, pitch raise, tuned, and refinished with multiple coats of lacquer bringing out the original finish. I believe that there was more restored than is mentioned here but, unfortunately, we cannot locate the restoration invoice.
Since its restoration, overall, the piano is still in exceptional condition for its age. However, it would require tuning and some adjustments for it to play as clean as it did after its restoration in 1977. Other notable issues would be (1) a small crack that was repaired but noticeable at one of the hinges for the lid (see picture), (2) a few minor scratches throughout body, and (3) missing bolts to connect pedal lyre underneath piano. The bolts were removed prior to the last piano move and we are trying to locate where those went missing.
For insurance purposes, Steinway & Sons square grands of this era have been appraised anywhere between $25,000 and $28,000 when fully restored. After factoring in supply and demand and market conditions we are asking $11,500.00 for this piano, but will consider any and all reasonable offers.
Please note that the piano is to be picked up in La Verne, California by the buyer or buyer's representative. Buyer is responsible for arranging shipping by a professional shipper if they are unable to pick up personally. I will be available for shipper to see the piano in order to give buyer a firm shipping cost. However, I will not make the arrangements, nor shop shipping costs on behalf of buyer.
Payment should be deposited electronically and be received and validated before release of piano.

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