well into the nineteenth century [well into?]

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Senior Member
The following sentence is from <<TOEFL = (Test of English as a Foreign Language)>>:
A series of mechanical improvements continuing well into the nineteenth century, including the introduction of pedals to sustain tone or to soften it, the perfection of a metal frame and steel wire of the finest quality,finally produced an instrument capable of myriad tonal effects from the most delicate harmonies to an almost orchestral fullness of sound,from a liquid,singing tone to a sharp, percussive brilliance.
What does well into mean?
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  • It means some significant distance into, I'd imagine at least 20-30 yrs. "Well" is a measure of degree, as in "well done" applied to a steak.

    Example: I was well into the 10k race when I stumbled. I had, so to say, 'well progressed' past the beginning. Again, I'd guess 3-4 k.

    "It was well past midnight when my son came home." {=a couple hours?}

    Here's something similar from oxforddictionaries.com

    be well away

    British informal Having made considerable or easy progress: if we got Terry to do that, we’d be well away
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