The Steinway Vertical
There's no need for concern if you don't have room for a Steinway grand. The Steinway vertical is a smaller Steinway, not a lesser one. The same experienced hands draw from the same stock of raw materials for all Steinway pianos, wheather they be grands or verticals.
By 1860, Steinway & Sons had built and occupied a new factory located uptown, between 52nd and 53rd Streets, on Fourth Avenue --- now Park Avenue. It was in the Park Avenue Manufactory, that they built their first Steinway Vertical Piano. The year was 1861, the Serial Number 5,451. With an eight-year time period (1853-1861) they had established the House of Steinway & Sons as the finest maker of grand and vertical pianos in the world --- a position which has remained constant to this day.
Through the same standards that make the Steinway grand the most respected instrument of its kind, the Steinway vertical is the finest vertical available. The vertical piano has been an integral part of the Steinway tradition for more than a century. Of the 129 Steinway patents, 35 are shared by both grands and verticals, and 34 are exclusive to Steinway vertical pianos.
The foundation on which vertical pianos are built is the Backframe. The backframe includes posts, fill-blocks, wrestplank (pinblock), lining and the foot piece, which is specific to Steinway verticals.
Backframe posts run the length of the vertical, down to the solid wood footpiece. They are not spaced at equal intervals from each other (as they would be if mass production, cost cutting and convenience were factors) but rather where they are needed. Tapered to meet tension requirements, and so that the backframe will remain straight for constant and stable tuning. Fill-blocks lock posts together across top of backframe. Cut-to-crown wood lining is glued to backframe front side. Closing blocks and/or closing rims are glued across lower treble corner and upper bass corner to deflect string vibrations back to the center of the soundboard.
Some important Steinway Vertical Piano Notes:
In 1865, 98% of the output of piano production was square grands. By 1896, square grand piano production fell to 1% and 95% of the production was vertical pianos.
From drying the wood to final inspection, a Steinway vertical piano takes 9 months to complete.