Jacob Ziegler

print this page

Jacob Ziegler (b. March 8, 1825, in Gieslingen, Württemburg, Germany; d. March 20, 1897 in New York City) was the brother-in-law of William Steinway. Jacob Ziegler was a successful cabinet maker and suitable match for William's sister Doretta. While active in some Steinway & Sons business dealings at William's request, Jacob Ziegler also continued to run his furniture and interior decorating business and his dealings in real estate.

Jacob Ziegler, who immigrated to New York from Württemburg, was working as a cabinet-maker of some means in New York City by 1850. (4, p.490) He married Doretta Steinway on March 18, 1851, according to a date given in the diary. The marriage produced four children; Anna Louisa, born December 11, 1851, Charles Jacob Theodore, born June 30, 1854, Julia born December 28, 1855, and Henry Ludwig, born October 30, 1857. Several of the children were involved in the Steinway & Sons business. Charles managed Steinway's business in London until his death in January of 1893. Henry Ludwig, who had begun working in his father's cabinet-making business, caught the attention of Theodore Steinway, who trained him in piano design. Henry became Theodore's successor in the Steinway & Sons piano business, continuing to apply innovations to Steinway instruments until his death in 1930. (2, p.262)

William’s diary provides information about Jacob’s business apart from Steinway & Sons.  In 1862 William bargained with Ziegler to purchase parlor furniture for William’s new household after his marriage to Regina. (Diary, 1862-03-28) A trade card from around 1864 advertised :
“J. Ziegler & Co./Manufacturers of Furniture and Decoration/ Rich & Plain Furniture/Curtains & Draperies/Hardwood Doors, Trimmings, Mantels,/Pier and Mantle glasses/Cornices, ETC. Warerooms 32 Bleecker Street, East of Broadway, Factory 311 Mott Street.” (3)  In 1875 Ziegler had an agreement with a New York City developer Van Vankenburgh to build interior woodwork for seven houses “uptown” (near 66th St. and Madison Avenue).(Diary, 1875-12-28) He appraised the furniture of the estate of Julianne, the mother of his wife Doretta and William. (Diary, 1877-09-17) He invested in real estate purchases, with varying degrees of success. (Diary, 1873-05-08, 1877-06-17).  Following William’s advice in 1877, he began to sell his properties (Diary. 1877-10-26), business and factory. (Diary, 1878-05-16, 1878-06-13, 1879-04-09, 1880-11-28)  In the mid 1880s, Jacob and Doretta spent extended periods in Europe, renting a flat in Stuttgart. (Diary, 1884-08-02)  In 1890 William and Jacob visited the Daimler operations in Cannstatt, Germany. (Diary, 1890-07-21, 1890-09-20)

Jacob Ziegler maintained his own business, but was also an active participant in some of the Steinway family business affairs.  In 1862, William used Ziegler to help negotiate the purchase of additional property on 14th street, adjoining the property that he had just closed on with a third party.  This would be where Steinway Hall would be built. (Diary, 1862-12-27)  The diary mentions frequent social contact between William and his family and the Zieglers.(Diary, 1882-04-09, 1892-06-24) Jacob Ziegler died in New York City in 1897. (1)



1.Maniha, Ken, Steinway Family Genealogy
2. Pelletreau, William S., A History of Long Island New York, Volume III, The Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1903.
3. Trade card in private collection of Steinway Family.
4. United States Census 1850 – Industry Schedule, 13th Ward, New York City, p.490