Here’s some photos from the Steinway factory in NY that are currently featured on the New Yorker blog (and making its way through the internet).
In case you haven’t seen it yet, I’d also highly recommend the movie Note by Note, The Making of a Steinway L1037.  It gives a really thorough view into how these brilliant machines are made.  It takes a full 365 days to produce one of these pianos and they are all still made by hand.  One of the coolest things about it is that the manufacturing techniques used are still the same as they were over 100 years ago, which is pretty rare these days.
Some info on the movie:

From the New Yorker, where this photo was originally posted:

July 19, 2012

The Making of a Steinway Piano

The Making of a Steinway Piano120723_payne-01_p465.jpgPiano Keys in Polishing Department, 2012.120723_payne-02_p465.jpgSoundboards, 2012.120723_payne-03_p465.jpgPiano Rotation Machine, 2012.120723_payne-04_p465.jpgSoundboard Conditioning Room, 2012.120723_payne-05_p465.jpgModel D Rim Press, 2012.120723_payne-06_p465.jpgPiano Rim Conditioning Room, 2012.120723_payne-07_p465.jpgPiano Rims in Conditioning Room, 2012.120723_payne-08_p465.jpgBelly Department, 2012.120723_payne-09_p465.jpgModel D Soundboard Rib Press, 2012.120723_payne-10_p465.jpgModel D Soundboard Bridge and Plate, 2012.120723_payne-11_p465.jpgWally’s World (Final Tone Regulation), 2012.120723_payne-12_p465.jpgPiano Casing Undersides, 2012.

Opening today at Bonni Benrubi Gallery, “One Steinway Place” is an exploration of the famed piano factory in Astoria, Queens, by the photographer Christopher Payne. Under the glow of fluorescent lights, raw lumber is bent, pressed, conditioned, and polished into instruments of exacting quality. With more than twelve thousand individual parts, including Canadian maple, Bavarian spruce, and Swedish steel, each piano takes nearly a year to assemble before being subjected to a final hand inspection by Wally Boot, a fifty-year veteran of the factory. Payne was allowed unfettered access to the factory, allowing him to document every step of the process. Here’s a selection of his work, which is on view through September 19th.

Photographs by Christopher Payne/Bonni Benrubi Gallery.


  1. I would recommend the documentary, as it is very informative. In Australia, all our Steinway & Sons come from Germany, and from what I understand the sound and production is different from the American pianos. I was able to play on a brand new ‘D model’ recently. It was an excellent piano, very good dynamic control, and easy to play. However, I founded it sounded too much like a recording.

    You might be interested in an Australia designed piano, the Stuart and Sons piano. It has the longest sustain on any piano I’ve played, and is a very incredible instrument. It has an additional 20 keys, and four pedals. It is worth playing it, if you ever have the chance. It is a very cool piano!!

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