Pressing one or more keys on the piano's keyboard causes a padded hammer (typically padded with firm felt) to strike the strings.
The hammer rebounds from the strings, and the strings continue to vibrate at their resonant frequency.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, pianos and organs went through an incredible evolution.
In the 1880s and 1890s, upright piano production increased substantially and by the last decade of the 19 century, the square grand piano that had dominated the market for the past century had all but vanished.
From about 1900-1916, the Arts & Crafts Movement was a major force in American design.
Although the Arts & Crafts design was very popular during the early 20th century, piano makers were slow to adapt to the Mission/Arts & Crafts design.
Since this was the height of the Victorian era, manufacturers were building their upright pianos with exotic woods and lavish carvings, often producing incredibly ornate and lavish models to suit the décor of the era.
The last decade of the 19 century saw some of the finest craftsmanship and quality ever to be put into piano manufacturing.