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WE publish below two
illustrations of STEINWAY's PIANOS, made by Steinway & Sons, of Walker Street,
New York City, which received a first prize medal at the London Exhibition,
having been characterized by the jurors as "Powerful, clear, brilliant, and
sympathetic tone of piano, with excellent workmanship shown in grand and square
In order to show how widely these
pianos are appreciated abroad, we subjoin a few extracts.
The London News of the World
(illustrated) says of these pianos:
"These magnificent piano,
manufactured by Messrs. Steinway & Sons, of New York, are without doubt the
musical gems of the Exhibition of 1862. They possess a tone that is the most
liquid and bell-like we have ever heard, and combine the qualities of brilliancy
and great power without the slightest approach to harshness. We will describe,
as well as we are able, the peculiarities belonging to them. The bass-covered
strings are carried over and across the lower steel ones. By adopting this plan
the bridge on which the covered strings rest is in the middle of the back part
of the sounding-board, which naturally gives them a greater amount of vibration
than if the bridge were placed on one side of the sounding-board, as in our
English pianos. The manner in which the metallic plate and bare are arranged is
very excellent, the whole being cast in one piece, by which means all
possibility of jarring (which frequently occurs when the bars and plate are made
separately) is done away with. Messrs. Steinway's patent repetition action is
another great feature in these pianos, for although it produces a repeat of the
most perfect kind—has a check that is firm and unvarying, and of a most
ingenious character—the whole thing is so extremely simple that it can be
understood almost at a glance by any ordinary piano-forte tuner; and we feel
bound to add that they have an elasticity of touch and firmness of blow that we
have rarely, if ever, seen surpassed.
"In grand pianos, and indeed in
all which have a great length of string, there is a difficulty in damping or
stopping the sound of the note directly the finger is taken off. This
difficulty, too, has been overcome by Messrs. Steinway,
for they use a damper which stops
the sound as soon as the hands are raised from the keys. The American makers are
generally very elaborate in the getting up of the cabinet work about their
pianos. They are adorned with very rich carved work, are massive and elegant in
their appearance, and have a polish on them which makes the surface of the wood
look more like a piece of plate-glass than what it really is. We would advise
all who have a taste for music, and are fond of hearing a good piano, to visit
these magnificent instruments the next time they go to the International
Exhibition. They are to be found in Class 16, United States Department. We are
informed that Messrs. Steinway are to receive a first-class medal for their
pianos. The whole of Messrs. Steinway and Sons' pianos have been purchased by
the enterprising firm of Cramer, Beale, & Wood, the proprietors of the great
Piano-forte Gallery in Regent Street, who, we understand, are appointed the sole
agents for them in England."
The special correspondent of the
New York Times writes:
"In Class 16 there are four
exhibitors, two of whom receive the medal. This is the musical instrument class,
and I am not wrong in saying that it has been the great feature of the American
Department. In a former letter I referred to the extraordinary excitement that
had been occasioned among piano-forte makers and professors by the startling
power and excellence of Messrs. Steinway & Sons' instruments. The American Court
was crowded with the curious in such matters; all the best players in London
tried the pianos, and some of a burglarious disposition even went so far as to
break the instruments open when they happened to find them locked. Several weeks
ago the two grands and two squares were sold to Messrs. Cramer, Beale, & Wood,
who were so satisfied with their bargain, and confident that a European business
could be established by Messrs. Steinway & Sons, that they have ever since
announced themselves as their agents, and, as I am informed, have forwarded an
extensive order for upright pianos. Four other cash applications were made for
the purchase of these particular instruments, and I am confident that if a dozen
'grands' were here they would go off like hot cakes. The jurors in this class
were as follows:
"W. Sterndale Bennett, Mus. D.,
London ; J. R. Black, M. D., United States; Right Honorable Sir George Clerk,
F.R.S., Chairman, Edinburgh; Fetis, Deputy-Chairman, Belgium; Lissajous, France;
Rev. Sir F. Gore Ousely, Bart., Mus. D., Oxford; Ernst Pauer, Austria; William
Pole, Mus. B., F.R.S., Secretary,
London; J. Schiedmayor, Zoll-Verein; Earl of Wilton, G.C.H., London; Henry Wylde,
Mus. D., London.
"And the awards are: Steinway &
Sons, medal, 'Powerful, clear, and brilliant tone of piano, with excellent
workmanship shown in a grand piano and a square piano of very large dimensions.'
Messrs. Steinway's indorsement by the jurors is emphatic, and stronger and more
to the point than that of any European maker."
M. Henri Hoche, one of the most
competent musical critics in France, says, in the Presse Musicale of Paris:
"The firm of Steinway & Sons,
from New York, exhibits two pianos—one grand piano and one square piano—both of
which have particularly attracted the attention of the jury. This firm, not
known among the exhibitors of the first exhibition in London, has taken in a
very short time an astonishing development. Messrs. Steinway & Sons have, to say
so, the monopoly to sell pianos in America, and in New York they have
considerably outstripped the other manufacturers. Undoubtedly, therefore,
Messrs. Steinway may claim to be classed with Messrs. Erard, Pleyel, Broadwood,
etc. Such importance naturally called the attention of the international jury to
the Steinway pianos; but there were better reasons still for their attention,
and the first of these reasons is the excellency of the pianos. This firm is
also the only one which distinguished itself in the manufacturing of pianos by
new inventions, worthy of being favorably considered."
M. Hoche continues his letter by
comparing the old and new method of piano making, mentioning especially that
Messrs. Steinway prepare the wood which they choose with the utmost care, and
only take the very best materials for their pianos. He after this praises the
invention of overstringing, for which Messrs. Steinway have a patent, and says:
"I have been able to judge upon
the effect of this new method, and can tell you that the square piano of Messrs.
Steinway fully possesses the tone of a grand piano; it sounds marvelously. The
ample sound, the extension, the even tone, the sweetness, the power, are
combined in this piano as in no other piano I have seen, and this is the result
of the new inventions which I mentioned."
About the grand piano the writer
makes the following eulogistic remarks:
"The grand piano unites in itself
all the qualities which you can demand of a concert piano. The character, the
power, and the even tone are most remarkable. The touch is comparatively light;
it is adapted for every shade of expression, and in every part the instrument
will develop, according to the wish of the player, power, sweetness, and
especially that soft tone which is necessary for accompaniment. I do not
hesitate to say that this piano is by far better than all the English pianos
which I have seen at the Exhibition, including the pianos of Broadwood. Finally,
I can tell you that Messrs. Steinway & Sons are
going to receive the medal for
sonority and clearness, brilliancy and sympathetic tone of their pianos."
THE LOSS OF THE "GOLDEN
WE illustrate on
page 540 the
burning of the Golden Gate, which took place in the Pacific Ocean, off Manzanilla, Mexico, on 27th ult. The following description of the steamer is
The Pacific Mail Steamship
Company's steamer Golden Gate was a side-wheel steamer, 2067 tons, and was built
at this port by William H. Webb, in 1850. Her dimensions were as follows: length
285 feet, breadth 38 feet, depth of hold 30 feet. Her draught of water was about
She was one of the finest boats
on the route between Panama and San Francisco, and was a favorite with the
traveling public. She was launched January 21, 1850, and was built for Howland &
Aspinwall. Her engines were constructed at the Novelty Works.
She was a fast vessel, and could
accommodate about nine hundred passengers, besides a large quantity of freight.
She was rated at the Underwriters A2, and her securities against fire were
recorded "good" She had two independent fire-pumps, and sufficient hose,
buckets, axes, etc. She had oscillating engines and two cylinders of eighty-five
inches each, with a nine-feet-stroke piston.
She carried from eight to twelve
boats, sufficient to carry several hundred persons.
The Golden Gate was repaired in
1856, 1858, 1859, and latterly she has been put in excellent order.
Manzanilla, off which it appears
the steamer was when the fire broke out, is in the bay of Limon, Isthmus of
Panama. The steamers from San Francisco call there to ship treasure brought from
the mines of Coloma, in Mexico. It is about three hundred miles south of
Acapulco and about fifteen hundred south of San Francisco.
The accident occurred as follows:
On the 27th ult., at a quarter to
five P.M., when fifteen miles north of Manzanilla, while the passengers were
dining, an alarm of fire was heard. The steamer was promptly headed for the
shore, three and a half miles distant, the flames meanwhile making fearful
At a quarter after five the upper
deck fell in.
Soon after the steamer struck the
beach, and the passengers and crew who had not got into the boats jumped
overboard and endeavored to swim whore.
About one hundred, including five
children, swam or were washed ashore alive.
The ship burned to the water's
edge and soon disappeared.
Those passengers who reached the
shore made their way near to Manzanilla, where they arrived on the 28th, just as
the steamer St. Louis arrived up from Panama.
Some few others escaped to
Manzanilla in boats. One boat, with thirty persons on board, has not been heard
from, but probably made the shore south of Manzanilla.
PIANOS EXHIBITED BY MESSRS. STEINWAY & SONS, OF NEW
YORK, AT THE GREAT INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF LONDON.