Mapes Piano String Co. Established 1912. Celebrating over 100 years.Mapes spring wire makes the quality difference in products worldwide.Mapes Piano Strings—in the heart of every Steinway since 1912. Craftsmanship-produced for all pianos: single strings, portion sets, full sets, piano wire and more. ORDER NOWThe best music wire, the best wrap. Top line string makers start at Mapes. ORDER NOW
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History

Mapes Piano String Company: A Century of “Made In the USA”

In an age where outsourcing has become business as usual, real American craftsmanship and ingenuity still thrive in the small Northeastern Tennessee enclave of Elizabethton.

In a town with less than 15,000 residents, the Mapes Piano String Company employs more than 125 men and women who work in a 200,000-square-foot complex spread over four Elizabethton, Tenn. city blocks.  Owned and managed by four generations of the Schaff family for the past 100 years, the Mapes Piano String Company has supplied the world with American made precision crafted spring wire for the automotive, home construction, music, and defense industries. Through good times and bad, Mapes has never compromised product quality, or the family’s commitment to its “Made in the USA” legacy.

“We take great pride in the fact that, after a century of growth, our products are still made in the United States,” says company president, Bill Schaff. “But, the international marketplace is fiercely competitive. We’re meeting that competition by continuing to focus on quality and innovation.”

The company’s dedication to quality and its passion for precision is shared by every Mapes employee, most of whom learned their craft as apprentices—often training directly under relatives or friends with more than 40 years experience.  Such a knowledgeable workforce is a rare resource, and not easily duplicated.

CEO Bob Schaff points out that international automobile company transplants that have opened manufacturing and assembly plants in the U.S. can be both an opportunity and a force to consider for Mapes’ future spring wire business. “Manufacturing is an ever-changing environment,” he says. “We never know what the future will bring, but the past 100 years have shown us that we must be able to change with the times.”

John Adam Schaff purchased the small Bronx, New York, company from Stephen Mapes, the founder, in 1918, and then quickly became a key supplier of piano strings to such notable piano manufacturers as Steinway, a customer relationship that still exists today. In the 1950s, William George Schaff, Jr. relocated the manufacturing operation to Elizabethton. By the mid-50s, the company was taking advantage of increased capacity to begin producing high-carbon steel wire for mechanical spring makers.

Since then, the company’s willingness to work with its customers to find the best spring wire solution for any application, coupled with its powerful mix of highly skilled workers, solid management, and high tech equipment, gives Mapes a distinct advantage in the highly competitive and beleaguered 21st century manufacturing world. Today, Mapes manufactures precision spring wire to tolerances within 1/10,000th and its products are used in everything from automobiles to space shuttles, accounting for more than 30 percent of its total sales.

According to Mark T. Schaff, Mapes’ production manager, the next generation of Schaff’s can look forward to new challenges as well as new opportunities. “This company is like a big family in more ways than one,” he says. “Employees and management have shared the same vision and values for 100 years. That commitment to quality and service will carry us forward in the years to come.”