For more than 150 years, Steinway & Sons has been one of the world's most recognized piano brands. Preferred by a majority of concert pianists worldwide, each piano is a handmade, one-of-a-kind piece that receives a serial number when it is "born" to identify the year it was produced. Once you trace a Steinway piano serial number, the Steinway website and several related sites will provide information on when a particular instrument was produced. Details on the production date, model and original finish details can be unearthed.
Locate the 4-to 6-digit serial number. According to the Steinway website, “On Steinway grand pianos the serial number can be found on the cast iron plate between the tuning pins above the keyboard. On Steinway upright pianos, the serial number can be located on the top of the wrestplank above the cast iron plate when you open the lid.” The model letter or letters are part of the cast iron plate, but the serial number is stamped on. In older or rebuilt pianos, the number might be missing from the expected place, and might be found stamped on the underside of the piano near the pedals.
On the home page of the website “Steinway Pianos,” click on the link to “Service.” On the "Service" page, click on “How Old is My Steinway?” at the bottom of the right-hand column. On this page, below the photographs illustrating serial-number placement, is a list of serial numbers paired with production years from 1856 through 2005. A notation explains that “the serial numbers represent the approximate ending serial number for the year of production of New York and Hamburg [Germany] pianos. Steinway Serial Numbers for some early production may span more than one year.”
Additional data regarding models and finishes is available at the website “Piano Exchange, LLC.” On the home page, click on “Manufacturer History Sheets.” Go to “Steinway Piano Specifications and Data.” Here you will find charts with specific details about each model produced by Steinway from 1853 through 1994, including serial numbers.
More historical information about the Steinway Company, including pictures, is available on the “Steinway Pianos” website. Under the subhead “About Us,” click on “Steinway & Sons History.”
Once you know the serial number of your piano, you can contact the Steinway company via email at email@example.com or call 800-STEINWAY to learn production details about your particular piano.
Melanie Aves has more than 30 years writing experience. Aves coauthored four interior design color books, authored a book on Newport Beach, California, wrote newspaper features and currently writes monthly magazine features. She holds a Master of Arts degree, a certificate in interior design, and completed post-graduate studies in journalism.