In 1973 an act of Congress made it illegal to import almost all elephant ivory and objects made from ivory, including ivory covered piano keys. Nearly a decade before this important decision, Steinway had already discontinued using ivory for piano keys. High quality plastic replaced the elephant ivory, which is not only superior to ivory (plastic does not yellow, nor does it crack or curl), but it also allows Steinway piano owners conscientious, cruelty free enjoyment of their instruments.
How Many Piano Keys?
Most pianos, including Steinway grand pianos, have 88 keys. Each key is either a "natural" or a "sharp" and when pressed, animates the action which, through a complex series of movements, causes the hammer to strike the proper string or strings.