Morris Steinert & Sons Piano Company

M Steinert & Sons, Boston

History of Piano Manufacturing in Boston

Morris Steinert & Sons Piano CompanyThe Steinert name made its way into several books and articles during the early part of the 20th century. The following excerpt, entitled "Alexander Steinert," from an historical text about the city of Boston, published in 1916, tells the story of the son of Morris Steinert, founder of M. Steinert & Sons piano company. The article details the influence Alexander Steinert had upon the music scene in Boston during this time. It also gives reference to his becoming the director of at least two other New England piano companies, namely, the Jewett Piano Company and the Hume Piano Company.

Alexander Steinert

Alexander Steinert, who has probably done more than any other single individual in Boston to advance the musical art here and cater to the desire of the music lovers of the city, was born in Athens, Ga., March 14, 1861, the son of M. and Caroline Steinert. He was educated in the public schools of New Haven, Conn., and at an early age entered the employment of his father, who was a piano manufacturer in that city. After learning the trade he was sent to Providence, as the Rhode Island manager of the house of M. Steinert & Sons Co., which had previously been incorporated. He later established the Boston branch of the company in conjunction with the New England agency for the Steinway pianos, adding shortly afterwards all the AEolian Company's products. In 1900 he incorporated the Jewett Piano Co. He established a chain of stores in the principal new England cities, and in 1896 erected the Steinert Hall Building on Boylston Street. This is one of the finest buildings in Boston devoted to music and musical entertainments, and the Steinert Building in Providence, R. I., erected in 1912, is as beautiful architecturally and as popular with the music lovers of the State's capitol, as that in Boston. Mr. Steinert has for many years been active and prominent in musical affairs, and it is due to his efforts that Boston has been the scene of some of the most noted musical productions. He was largely responsible for the success of the performance of the opera, "Siegfried," given in the Harvard Stadium, June 4, 1915, which attracted the largest audience that ever attended an operatic performance from this city. He was one of the founders of the Boston Singers, and it was he who arranged for the first appearance in Boston of Paderewski and many other famous artists. Mr. Steinert is general manager and treasurer of the M. Steinert & Sons Co., and is a director of the Jewett Piano Co., the Hume Piano Co., and the Boston Music Trades Association. He is a member of the Art Commission of the City of Boston, a trustee of the New England Conservatory of Music, a member of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Boston Real Estate Exchange, the Art Club, Boston Athletic Association, Longwood Tennis Club, Harvard Musical Club, Fidelia Musical Society, founder of the Baerman Society and trustee of the South End Music School Settlement and the Boston Music School Settlements. Mr. Steinert was married, June 6, 1889, to Bessie Shuman, the union bringing three sons, Russell, Robert and Alexander Steinert. He resides at 401 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, and has a beautiful summer home at Hospital Point, Beverly, Mass.

Notes and Sources

1989. Samuel Wolfenden, A Treatise on the Art of Pianoforte Construction. Heckscher & Co. Limited, London (Originally published in 1916).

1916. Edwin Monroe Bacon, The Book of Boston: Fifty Years' Recollection of the New England Metropolis. Book of Boston, Co., Boston.

1972. Alfred Dolge, Pianos and their Makers: A Comprehensive History of the Development of the Piano. Dover Publications, Inc., New York.

Note: In a chapter entitled, "Literature on the Pianoforte," Alfred Dolge writes:

Of special interest to the studious piano maker are the catalogues of old instruments collected by Morris Steinert of New Haven and Paul de Wit of Leipsic. "M. Steinert's Collection of Keyed and Stringed Instruments" is the title of a book published by Charles F. Tretbar, Steinway Hall, New York. It contains excellent illustrations of the clavichords, spinets, harpsichords and claviers which Steinert has discovered in his searches covering a period of 40 years. The illustrations are supplemented by a minute description of each instrument. A concise history of the development of the piano and illustrations with explanatory text of Steinert's collections of violins, etc., complete the volume.

In "Reminiscences of Morris Steinert," compiled by Jane Martin, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1900, Steinert gives interesting and amusing accounts of his experiences hunting old instruments in America and foreign countries. Steinert, a gifted and many-sided musician by profession, became a dealer in musical instruments, especially pianos, and founded the great house of M. Steinert & Sons, with headquarters at Boston and branch stores in leading cities of New England. The firm also controls the Hume and the Jewett piano factories. (Dolge, 427)

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