In The Heat Of The Foundry, Steinway Piano ‘Hearts’ Are Made – NPR

National Public Radio – 11/9/13
Noah Adams

The Steinway piano company has a new owner. This fall, the investment firm Paulson & Co. — led by billionaire John Paulson — spent about $500 million and bought all of Steinway & Sons, the venerated piano maker.

Noah Adams/NPRThe deal includes a foundry in Springfield, Ohio, where the Steinway pianos are born in fire.

The O.S. Kelly Foundry has been making Steinway’s plates since 1938. The plate is the cast-iron heart of a piano: It holds the steel wire strings with 40,000 pounds of tension, the company says. It allows vibrations to arise in a concert hall as music.

The plates are an old design. So is the Kelly foundry. Even the dust in this dark, echoing space seems a century old. This part of the operation is the “melt shop,” where two men pour cast-iron plates for all the Steinway pianos — that’s 4,000 plates a year…

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Photo by Noah Adams/NPR
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