The following YouTube video was made in 1929 by the Steinway Company to display how they manufacture their Style B Grand Piano, which was the style of piano that was installed in Titanic's First Class Reception Room on D Deck.
The process would have been the same in 1912 for Titanic's pianos, and according to Steinway, "Most of the techniques have stayed the same in the 80 year interim [since the video was made]." Titanic's Steinway pianos would have followed these preliminary processes until the cabinets were finished with their one-of-a-kind "art cases", designs made for and seen only on Titanic.
For more on Steinway, visit the La Guardia and Wagner Archives' website
In March 2012, 100 years after Titanic's pianos were anchored into place, I traveled to New York for the Music Teachers' National Association (MTNA) conference at the New York Hilton. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting several Steinway employees, both at the conference trade show and on a visit to Steinway Hall.
During the trade show Sante Auriti, an artisan at the Steinway booth, plied his trade before our eyes. He chiseled and sanded a grand piano cabinet which lay upside-down on a sawhorse workbench. Wood chips littered the red carpeted floor.
The craftsman explained that the cabinet of the piano is made up of many thin layers of maple that have been plied together, for ease of shaping the curves. The carved wooden appliqués and sculpted legs are individually machine carved then hand detailed to make a perfect fit. This takes hours of hands-on crafting, the musical counterpart of the "slow food" movement - this is real take-time-to-do-it-right craftsmanship.
|His shirt says, "I Build the World's Best Piano."|
You can see the pedal lyre, here upside-down, with the three notches where the brass pedals will be fitted (top side).
|This is me, dreaming...|
Titanic's First Class pianos
Titanic's Second Class pianos
Enthusiast turns commentator
*Steinway Louis XV
Steinway & Sons Article, May 4, 2012 Read discussion on Titanic's pianos, how they responded to sinking and the possibility that some parts may still be there.