When did pianos have pedals?

What is the function of the piano pedals?

Half-pedal, re-pedaling, flageolet with the damper pedal

If you use the pedal skillfully, you dimension the damper effect: the harder you press the pedal, the more the strings are released. If the pedal is only partially depressed, the tone is only slightly lengthened. This way of playing is called half-pedal. This makes it possible to lengthen tones only slightly. Difficult passages with tied notes can sometimes be played more comfortably with it. Mid-range digital pianos also support half-pedaling.

Re-pedaling - also known as re-pedaling - is a special characteristic of acoustic pianos. Digital pianos simulate this more or less well. With a grand piano you notice a lengthening and slight increase in volume, even if you press the pedal at the end of a single note. Many digital pianos ignore this rather subtle effect. Most instruments, however, allow re-pedaling, which is possible due to the inertia of the strings.

Playing flageolet tones is a special type of holding pedal, whereby one uses only a short time of the string oscillation. If the damper only touches the strings for a short time, you can still release a certain "residual vibration" with the damper pedal - provided you press it down again quickly enough. If you press the hold pedal very quickly after notes played staccato, you can even elicit notes similar to flageolet from the piano. This means that when you pedal again, partial tones of the previously played tone sound in the damper pedal. This is probably difficult to replicate electronically. The physical modeling piano software Pianoteq does this amazingly well.