Beethoven never bought a "Nannette Streicher née Stein"piano, as they were extremely expensive from the beginning. But the Streichers had a longlasting and mutually beneficial business relationship with him that put them in the forefront of the musical scene. And there was real friendship as well. Maynard Solomon enjoys the idea that Beethoven had a sort of crush-plus-mother-fixation on Nannette; in any case she and Andreas went out of their way to give Beethoven quiet support throughout his life. His many letterss to Nannette are famous, begging her help in his continual strife with cooks and housekeepers and constant changes of lodgings. Andreas was behind numerous efforts to keep Beethoven's finances on the track, including a sizeable subscription from England at the end of his life. Because of the Streichers' English connections, their son Johann Baptiste would have been Beethovens guide and translator on the trip to England he never made because of failing health. The composer's Conversation Books record the many hopes and plans made for this trip.
The Streichers played hosts to musical visitors from all over Europe and constituted a port of entry to Vienna for those making the musical Grand Tour. Guests visited the large building in the Ungargasse in Vienna's Landstrasse district that housed the workshop, concert salon, and home, were invited to superb dinners with interesting conversation and anecdotes about composers of note, heard the concerts in the salon, and were given access to Beethoven and his circle. Then they returned home, having ordered Streicher pianos.
Dr. Carl Bursey, an amateur musician from Mitau, now in Lithuania, recorded such a visit in his diary, and from him we get a glimpse of how people viewed Nannette as a pianomaker. He refers to her as 'the notorious woman'. Bursey was greeted on arrival by Andreas Streicher, and as they talked Nannette came in from the workshop to join the conversation. Bursey could not help remarking in the diary on her clothing, which had neatly mended tears all over, and did not go together in a way that matched. There were of course no work clothes for women then, or casual wear; women as well as men dressed rather formally most of the time unless they were of the working people, and wore old clothes for leisure activities or messy pursuits. Any pianomaker must have had to deal with the problem of doing shop work yet appearing presentable for clients; for a woman this was doubly difficult. One reads between the lines that he considered her appearance unsatisfactory, though he hastens to say that his impressions were otherwise good, and they conversed so long he ended up staying for dinner.
Bursey notes as many others did that only Nannette worked in the shop in the early years of the Streichers' marriage, as well as caring for their son and daughter, and that Andreas learned the business gradually. They had of course a staff of woodworkers, many of whom no doubt moved with them from Augsburg to Vienna. Nannette continued to do the final voicing and regulating throught her life, even after their son Johann Baptiste became a partner in the firm in 1823.
In her later years she devoted most of her time to translating a multi-volume work on anatomy and phrenology into French. She had studied these subjects with the author, a famous Viennese doctor named Franz Joseph Gall, who was highly respected in what was the psychology of the time, several generations before Vienna's most famed psychologist, Sigmund Freud. A copy of her translation is in the Rollett Museum in Baden, the resort suburb where Streichers stayed with the Rollett family many summers. (Beethoven also summered in Baden.) Her name does not however appear on the title page, due to custom or modesty. In spite of the time devoted to this project, Nannette continued to do the fiinal voicing of the pianos, and her name always appeared in pencil on the bellyrail inside them, including one which appeared right after her death, sold under her son's name in 1834.