The Descriptive Finding Guide for the Steinway and Sons Corporate Papers SDASM.SC.10137

Alan Renga
San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
2001 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park
San Diego 92101

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
Title: Steinway and Sons Corporate Papers
Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10137
Physical Description: 0.64 Cubic Feet 15 ½ X 10 ½ X 7” box
Date (inclusive): 1941-1945
Abstract: Steinway and Sons was a piano manufacturer who built wooden gliders during the Second World War.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to researchers by appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Some copyright may be reserved. Consult with the library director for more information.

Preferred Citation

[Item], [Filing Unit], [Series Title], [Subgroups], [Record Group Title and Number], [Repository “San Diego Air & Space Museum Library & Archives”]

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials in this Collection were donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

Scope and Contents

The Steinway & Sons collection is housed in one 15 1⁄2 X 10 1⁄2 X 7” box and contains Xerox copies of company correspondence and memos dated from 1942-1944. The scope of the collection is focused on the conversion of the piano factory into space available for production of wing and tail parts for the CG-4A glider. Another topic is the production schedule for the Victory Vertical upright pianos and concerns for available raw material.

Biographical / Historical

Born February 5, 1797, in Wolfshagen, Germany, Henry Engelhardt Steinweg was known for making the first square piano. At the age of 15, Henry was orphaned and lived solely on his own without any family. At 18, he was drafted for the army and took part in the Battle of Waterloo. At 21, he left the service on June 23, 1822 and worked as a carpenter for a cabinetmaker and later as an apprentice organ builder in Seesen. Henry became intrigued with building organs and enjoyed playing them at the local church. With his new found passion, he wanted to use his carpenter tools to make musical instruments and started making pianos. In 1825, he married Juliane ___ and presented her with the first piano he built. In 1839, he exhibited one grand and two square pianos at the fair in Brunswick and was awarded a gold medal. His reputation as a master piano builder was now established. With orders pouring in, his sons Theodore, Charles, and Henry joined him in the business. In 1848-49, political upheaval and revolution paralyzed business throughout Germany and on June 9, 1851, the entire Steinweg family, except for Theodore, arrived in New York and worked in other piano factories to gain business experience. On March 5, 1853, Steinway & Sons was launched, and in step with the new career, came a change in the family name from Steinweg to Steinway. Henry E. Steinway passed away on February 7, 1871 at the age of 74.
In this collection, detailed information is listed about the General Aircraft Corporation during 1943. Information and detailed paperwork on Frank Walsh during 1943. In this collection we also have Steinways War Order form and banking documents (1942-1944).

Related Materials

Gliding and Soaring Subject Files.
Related Research Institutions: La Guardia and Wagner Archives

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Gliders (Aeronautics)
World War, 1939-1945
General Aircraft Corporation
Waco (OH) G-4C Hadrian
Frank Walsh
Steinway & Sons


Series I: Documents


Folder 1 1. Lease agreement between Steinway & Sons and U.S. Government, March 12, 1941.


Folder 2 1. TM 1-414, War Department Technical Manual – Aircraft Woodwork, Dec. 22, 1942


Folder 3 1. Proposed Glider Delivery Schedule, Aug. 1, 1942. 2. Tentative Price List, Dec. 17, 1942.


Folder 4 1. Correspondence re: order for Model 40 pianos for U.S. Army, 1942


Folders 5 1. Correspondence re: Limitation Order L-37A, use of “critical material” for pianos, 1942.


Folder 6 1. Correspondence re: materials for production and receiving reports, 1942-44.


Folder 7 1. Correspondence re: available floor space and plant conversion for CG-4A glider, 1942-43.


Folder 8 1. Correspondence and memos re: covering, doping, and camouflage of empennage and ailerons, 1943.


Folder 9 1. Misc. Steinway documents including Steinway News and newspaper articles.


Folder 10 1. Frank Walsh, Chief Engineer, Memos and Correspondence, 1943.


Folder 11 1. Frank Walsh, Chief Engineer, Memos and Correspondence, 1944.


Folder 12 1. General Aircraft Corp. – Subcontract agreement with Steinway & Sons, March/April 1942


Folder 13 1. General Aircraft Corp. – Lease agreement with Steinway & Sons, May 13, 1942.


Folder 14 1. General Aircraft Corp. – Contract with Steinway & Sons, memos and correspondence, 1943.


Folder 16 1. General Aircraft Corp./Charak Furniture Co., memos and correspondence re: CG-4A glider floors, March – July 1943.


Folder 17 1. General Aircraft Corp. correspondence re: YCG-13 Glider, May – Sept. 1943.


Folder 18 1. General Aircraft Corp., YCG-13 wing assembly delivery schedule/causes for delay, June – August 1943.


Folder 19 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CG-4A, Government Storeroom Locations and Stock Clerks, 1943.


Folder 20 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CG-4A, Tools and Templates List, August 26, 1943.


Folder 21 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CG-4A, Tools and Templates List for Fuselage parts, August 26, 1943.


Folder 22 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CG-4A, Tools and Templates List for Aileron, August 26, 1943.


Folder 23 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CG-4A, Tools and Templates List for Outboard Wing, August 26, 1943.


Folder 24 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CG-4A, Tools and Templates List for Inboard Wing, August 26, 1943.


Folder 25 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CG-4A, Tools and Templates List for Empennage, August 26, 1943.


Folder 26 1. Release of contract between General Aircraft Corp. and Steinway & Sons, March 1944.


Folder 27 1. U.S. Army Glider, Model CD-4A, new tools to be added to Tools and Templates Record Book, May 1944.


Folder 28 1. Purchase Orders, 1943-44.


Folder 29 1. Correspondence and research for creation of traveling exhibit for Victory Vertical Piano, 2006.




1. National Association of Music Merchants, oral history interview with Henry Z. Steinway, January 21, 2006.


2. Steinway & Sons, The making of a hand crafted Steinway piano.


3. Twenty-six historic digital images.