Steinway & Sons is one of the very few piano manufacturers from the pre-Civil War era who is still building pianos today. Because Steinway pianos have been in constant production since 1853, records of all Steinway pianos built and produced for the past 150+ years are still in Steinway's vast archives in New York. It is fascinating to learn, via serial number, when a Steinway piano was built, what model it was, what style, wood and finish it had, and where it was originally sold and delivered.
This piano is one of the most unique and unusual Victorian era Steinway pianos we’ve ever seen. According to the records from Steinway's own archives, this piano was custom ordered by Charles Blasius of Blasius Piano Company in Philadelphia to satisfy the eclectic tastes of one of his wealthy clients. Built in 1872, this piano is a “Style 2” concert grand finished in hand carved black walnut wood with ebony and copper inlay.
This piano is a bit of a puzzle because it encompasses so many different styles in one piece. The majority of the cabinet is Eastlake Victorian, but the massively carved legs have both European and Oriental influenced design and details. Note the handsomely carved Neoclassical style faces flanked on either side by mystical Chinese griffins. The pedal lyre features a pair of medieval dragons with serpent bodies which fade into a beautiful Victorian Fleur-de-lis. This piano is an excellent example of how far Steinway's creative art department would go to satisfy the eccentric tastes of their wealthier buyers, no matter what they requested!
Steinway's archives show us that this piano was sold back to Steinway's New York factory in 1898 and again in 1921, both times being resold to private individuals. The piano has once again been restored to like new condition and is ready to once again grace some baronial mansion for another 100 years.