Making Pianos In The 1800's Was Both An Art And A Science!
In those days if there was no river nearby for sustainable power, they installed a steam engine to run the shop, something like this:
Which ever way they found to make things go round, it's a fact that piano makers were so successful at bringing music to the homes of Americans that of recently there were more pianos than people in the U.S! When the housing collapse happened in 2007, many old and historical pianos were burned, trashed, and scrapped due to Chinese production bringing the cost of new piano production to be cheaper than the labor to re-build or restore an old piano. Some new small Chinese grand pianos sell for about $8,000.00 while their American counterparts sell for about $60,000. A concert Grand piano can sell from about $35,000 for a Chinese Model to about $2 million dollars for a custom One-Of-A-Kind Bosendorfer.
There was a period of time when the transition was made in pianos in the early 1900's when Art-Deco became popular. They removed the legs from the fancy carved pianos in great numbers and fitted them with modern style straight legs, for they were worth more money fashionably and easier to sell.
Today, many of those pianos are being re-fitted with original styled legs that must be painstakingly hand carved once again. It can cost upwards of $4,000 per leg and countless hours of carving work.
Here's another fantastic water-wheel shop:
Today, many of piano parts are still hand handled and assembled. Many parts are also machine made prior to assembly. The days when millions of pianos were made in the U.S. are long over. Steinway