The Mystery of the Chenery Piano

Every Steinway piano gets a unique serial number when it is made, and ours was no exception. Unfortunately, someone painted over the number many years ago, so neither we, nor Detroit Steinway, could figure out what year it was made!

There has, however, been a lot of speculation over the years based on other bits of knowledge. For example, our piano was previously strung with steel strings instead of copper, which was a Steinway practice in the early 1940’s so that the copper could be used in the war effort.

Luckily for us, The Gilmore regularly uses our space - and many of their incredible pianists love and have chosen to play on our instrument over others that have been brought in. In May of 2019, Gilmore brought in Kirill Gerstein, a Russian-American pianist and professor of piano at Musikhochschule Stuttgart in Germany. He was curious about the age of our piano as well, but he has something we don’t - a friend at Steinway. He took a photo of the piano harp’s foundry stamp (pictured right), sent it off to her, and within an hour, she and the Steinway historian responded with not only the piano’s serial number, but it’s history as well.

Here’s what we learned:

  • The piano’s harp was cast on 10/17/1932.

  • The assembly was completed on 12/13/1940.

  • It was then shipped to Detroit Steinway, and then straight to us!

The Chenery piano harp foundry stamp that helped solve the mystery!

The Chenery piano harp foundry stamp that helped solve the mystery!

We are so thrilled to finally know exactly how old our amazing piano is. Thank you to The Gilmore, to Kirill Gerstein, to Steinway, and to all of the students and professionals who have played and loved this piece of history over the years!