Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Steinway, Henry Engelhard

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STEINWAY, Henry Engelhard (stine'-way), piano-forte manufacturer, b. in Wolfshagen, Germany, 15 Feb., 1797; d. in New York city, 7 Feb., 1871. The original spelling of the name is Steinweg. After receiving a common-school education in his native place, he was first apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, then worked in an organ-factory, and thereafter studied the art of piano-forte making. His earliest youthful musical constructions were zithers and guitars, for his own amusement. At the age of fifteen the boy was left an orphan and thrown on his own resources. After a time Mr. Steinway began to make piano-fortes in a small way in his native place, but, being dissatisfied with the surroundings, came with his family to New York city in 1850. Here for several years father and sons were employed as journeymen in noted factories, until they resolved to unite their knowledge and experience and established the firm of Steinway and Sons. In 1862 they gained the first prize in London in competition with the most eminent makers in Europe; and this victory was followed in 1867 by a similar success at the Universal exposition in Paris. According to Liszt, Rubinstein, and other high authorities, the Steinways have done more to advance the durability, action, and tone-quality of their instruments than any other makers of Europe or America. — Henry Engelhard's son, Albert, b. in Seesen, Germany, 10 June, 1840; d. in New York city, 14 May, 1877, early in the civil war was advanced to the colonelcy of the 6th regiment of New York volunteers, and later became brigadier-general on the staff of Gov. John T. Hoffman.