Colorado’s Most Recommended Piano Mover
Part two of :
The Birth of the Modern Grand and American Piano Production
By 1900, more than half of the world’s pianos were made in America and the five largest manufacturers were all American. During the 1920s, the heyday of piano production, thousands of American piano companies were producing uprights and grands, and many were well-constructed instruments quite suitable for the average consumer. During this time, a significant percentage of American upright pianos produced were player pianos. Following the Great Depression, the emphasis on piano production was economy, and both uprights and grands were sold in much smaller sizes. The “baby grand” became a popular consumer grade piano during the ’30s and ’40s. Inventions like the gramophone, the radio, the record player and the television hampered piano production in the early 20th Century.
During the 1960s and 1970s, piano production quality generally declined. Cases were often poorly constructed with plastic veneers covering particleboard and action parts suffered as well. Even companies like Steinway started replacing traditional bushings and joints with plastics and teflons. Needless to say, these instruments did not stand the test of time. Many of the 1970s and 1980sgrands needed rebuilds within 15 years while some pianos from the 20s are still going strong today with original parts. Japan increased piano production at an alarming rate during the 1970s, mastering the art of efficient production, and many Yamahas and Kawais have been sold in the U.S since. While these instruments are often quite adequate for the general consumer, it is doubtful that rebuilders will take the time and invest in rebuilding these imports since they often come up short when compared to the early 20th Century American pianos.
Unfortunately, by the 1990s, most American piano companies had either gone under completely or sold their names to companies in Asia, including Weber and George Steck. Because of cheap labor and rapid production, imports from abroad have dominated the American piano business. Fortunately, for those interested in high-quality American made pianos, there are still some excellent vintage pianos being restored.
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