Grand Reproducing Piano by Steinway & Sons

  • This custom-crafted grand player piano was created by Steinway & Sons and Aeolian
  • Immensely rare and exquisite, this piano is able to accurately recreate a live piano performance
  • In terms of both mechanical and aesthetic artistry, this piano is a true masterpiece
  • The piano was part of the collection of supermarket giant Barney Henry Kroger
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-4274

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Immensely rare, mechanically complex and visually stunning, this Steinway & Sons reproducing grand piano is considered to be the highest quality player piano made in the early 20th century. This particular instrument is further distinguished as having been owned by the “father of the modern super-market” American businessman and founder of Kroger Supermarkets, Barney Henry Kroger.

This automatic musical masterpiece is the culmination of an exclusive relationship between two international leaders in their respective fields: The Aeolian Company of New York City, and Steinway & Sons of Manhattan. Aeolian was a trailblazer in automatic musical instruments and sheet music, while Steinway & Sons are one of the most prominent “big four” piano manufacturers in the world. It is the combined gifts of these renowned companies that resulted in this incredible piano. 

Player pianos were nothing new by the time Aeolian introduced their Duo-Art mechanism in March 1914. Several factors, however, separate Aeolian’s innovation from all others of the period. First, its pneumatic system is incredibly multifarious, essentially using forced air via a bellows to activate various switches, valves and expression boxes that together, are capable of recreating the most true-to-life sounds and nuances associated only with a live performance.

This piano retains the Duo-Art technology that allowed for such nuanced performances, but it has received a technological upgrade in the form of a state-of-the-art QRS digital reproduction system. Rather than the restrictive options of paper rolls, this system allows for song selections to be made over a WiFi connection, giving the user a choice between digital downloads or traditional manual play. 

While the majority of Steinways were housed in a more traditional and streamlined exterior case, this particular model features an incredibly rare and undoubtedly custom-crafted "art case." The entire piano is sumptuously gilded and polychromed in the Neoclassical style. Majestic carved elements including sweeping acanthus leaves, reeds and garlands surround all angles, while the hand-painted imagery of musical instruments and charming putti adorn the facade. The instrument rests upon classical, reeded columns, while the pedalboard takes the form of a graceful lyre. Steinway's art cases were each one-of-a-kind and custom-made, combining the firm's incomparable craftsmanship with inspired designs. Today, Steinway art case grand pianos reside in the White House and the Smithsonian. This instrument also includes its original bench, a rarity for pianos of this age.

During the period between 1890-1930, Steinway was the instrument of choice for every major pianist in the world due to their superb tonal quality. Steinway only used the finest timber and applied the highest level of craftsmanship. This changed in 1930 after the Depression hit as Steinway, along with all other piano manufacturers, was forced to lower the quality of their materials. Our instrument was made circa 1920 at the height of Steinway's golden age. It is truly rare to find a historical musical mechanism with such remarkable sound quality and in excellent condition. Ingenious working mechanics, opulent workmanship and important provenance make this Steinway grand piano a tour de force of automatic musical instruments. 

Marked with the Steinway company seal

Circa 1924

58 1/2" wide x 74" deep x 40" high
Lid open: 71" high
Grand Reproducing Piano by Steinway & Sons
Period: 20th Century
Origin: America
Type: Other
Depth: 74.0 Inches
Width: 58.5 Inches
Height: 40.0 Inches

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