Johann Andreas Stein - Life

Life

He learned his trade in part at the Silberman workshop in Strasbourg (1748–9), working for Johann Andreas Silbermann, nephew and pupil of the great instrument maker Gottfried Silbermann. He settled in Augsburg, where he also served as an organist.

He built not just pianos, but other keyboard instruments, some of them of novel invention. One extraordinary instrument, called the "Poli-Toni-Clavichordium" (1796), combined a large harpsichord having four choirs of strings (registration 8', 8', 8', 16') with a piano. He also built (1772) the "Melodika," a small organ in which the player's touch could alter volume; thus it stood to regular organs much as pianos do to the harpsichord. He also built "vis-à-vis" instruments, with a piano and a harpsichord facing one another in a single case.

Toward the end of his life, Stein's business was largely taken over by his daughter Nannette (see below). Pianos with his name after 1790 are held to be Nannette's work, as Stein was himself too ill to build instruments by this date.

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