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by Randy Cassingham
Randy Cassingham’s Honorary Unsubscribe Recognizes the Unknown, the Forgotten and the Obscure People who Had an Impact on Our Lives
End of an era owner
Henry Z. Steinway
One name has meant “quality” in the American piano business more than any other: Steinway & Sons. The company was founded in 1853 by Heinrich Steinway, an illiterate German immigrant; Henry was his great-grandson. He became factory manager after World War II, and then president of the company in 1955. The “Z” middle initial was prophetic: he was the last Steinway to run the company; he sold it in 1972 because, he said, no one in the next generation was interested in running the business. Steinway pianos have continued to be much sought after (my pianist mother had two Steinway grands — good thing we had a big living room), and even after he retired at 65, Henry autographed the cast-iron plates inside the instruments with a felt-tipped pen. In 2007 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. He died at home in Manhattan on September 18. He was 93.
From This is True for 14 September 2008
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