May 1935

  • Steinway & Sons begins building the first series of Model S, 5’1” baby grand pianos. Model S, initially designed by Henry L. Ziegler in 1924, has been further developed by Paul Bilhuber, assisted by draftsman Frank H. Walsh, and, for the first time in the company’s history, with participation of non-Steinway technical experts and scientists, as well as two most prominent Steinway Artists, Josef Hofmann and Vladimir Horowitz. It is Frederick Vietor who has motivated Theodore Steinway to put Model S into production. (The piano will not be revealed to dealers and public until January 1936.)
  • To improve the design of the new piano, Paul Bilhuber has consulted his former Columbia University professor, and together they have measured the vibrations of several hundreds small piano soundboards, trying to create a mini soundboard capable of producing large sound. As a result of this research, Paul Bilhuber has invented the Diaphragmatic Soundboard.
  • Frederick Vietor and pianists Vladimir Horowitz and Josef Hofmann together have invented the new, more responsive keyboard, “Steinway Accelerated Action”, to match the new technique of piano playing, pioneered by Horowitz. Steinway Accelerated Action has replaced the flat fulcrum with the rounded one, at the same time distributing the weight of the keys more evenly, making them return to their original position .02 seconds faster.
  • For the next several years, approximately 50% of all new Steinway & Sons pianos will be Model S. A best-selling model, it will prove instrumental in saving Steinway & Sons during the Great Depression.
  • Model S will also become one of the key reasons for total unionization of Steinway & Sons factory, the event that will probably become one of the indirect factors that will shorten the lives of both Theodore Cassebeer and Frederick Vietor.