Henry Ziegler (1857-1930)

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Henry Ludwig Ziegler (b. October 30, 1857, in New York City, d. May 9, 1930, in Woodmere, Long Island, NY) was the son of Doretta Steinway Ziegler (1827-1900) and Jacob Ziegler (1825-1897), and the nephew of William Steinway.(4)(6) He graduated from Mount Pleasant Military Academy in Ossining, New York, and learned cabinet-making from his father, proprietor of his own company on Bleecker Street in New York. C. F. Theodore Steinway, Henry's uncle and William's brother, recognized early on that Henry had impressive artistic talent and lured him away to Steinway & Sons, where he learned piano construction and made important contributions to the design of pianos and to the business.?(2)(4)

"The Modern Pianoforte," The New York Tribune, January 6, 1901, p. 10.Henry was the son of William's oldest sister, Doretta, and her husband, Jacob Ziegler. He married his cousin Albertine Vogel on October 12, 1881; together they had three children: Eleanor (1883-1902) (Diary, 1883-02-16, 1883-11-04), a son (September 1884-April 26, 1885) (Diary, 1884-10-21, 1885-04-26), and Frederick (1886-1966) (Diary, 1886-11-02).(3)

In 1882, Henry was elected a trustee and director of Steinway & Sons and served in those positions throughout William's life. In April of 1883, Henry was elected president of Hunters Point Railroad, another Steinway business venture. As the son of Doretta Steinway Ziegler, Henry succeeded to a quarter of his uncle Theodore's interest in Steinway & Sons upon the latter's death, childless, in 1889. He also became a trustee of Theodore's estate.?(1)

Seemingly innumerable references during those years to "the boys" collectively in William's diary make clear that William thought of Henry as one of his own sons and relied on him as a confidant, advisor, and strategist in his many business ventures, as well as in Steinway & Sons' multitudinous conflicts with competitors, patent thieves, and treacherous relatives. (Diary, 1879-01-18, 09-11, 1882-05-01) Henry Ziegler became vice president of the company in 1919.(4)

In1889 in his early 30's, Henry contracted a lung disease (eventually diagnosed as diphtheria, a bacterial infection of the pulmonary system) that required him to remain in Europe--specifically, the South of France, for some months. (Diary, 1889-08-27, 10-19, 1890- 07-20) But by the end of 1890, he was well enough and prosperous enough to purchase a house for his family on East 54th Street in Midtown Manhattan. (Diary, 1890-12-05) When Steinway & Sons was reorganized in 1897, following William's death the previous year, Henry remained a director.(7)

During his adult life, Henry earned a reputation as a master of the rapidly developing technology of piano making. Indeed, at the turn of the century, The New York Tribune enthusiastically remarked that Henry's "improvements in the construction of the upright piano, and lately in all sizes of the grand piano, stamp him as the foremost of his profession today. [He] is the artist in tone, who makes the ideal into the real piano. . . ." (5) Henry died at 73 in 1930.(4)

Henry Ziegler, date unknown

Henry Ziegler, date unknown



  1. "C.F.T. Steinway's Will", The New York Times, March 31, 1889, p. 16.?
  2. Dolge, Alfred, Pianos and Their Makers, Covina, California: Covina Publishing Co.vol. II: Development of the Piano Industry in America Since the Centennial at Philadelphia, 1876, 1913, p. 182-5. (available at Google Books)
  3. "Funeral of Mrs. James A. Hill," The New York Tribune, July 2, 1902, p. 9.
  4. "Henry Ziegler Dies, Steinway Official," The New York Times, May 11, 1930, p.27.
  5. "The Modern Pianoforte," The New York Tribune, January 6, 1901, p. 10.
  6. "Mrs. Henry Ziegler", The New York Times, October 31, 1934, p.19.
  7. "Steinway & Sons, Ltd", The New York Times, August 20, 1897, p.1.