Harder & Steenbeck manufactures airbrush guns and accessories of the highest quality, where their Evolution Series can be seen as one of the most popular guns worldwide. With innovative products, Harder & Steenbeck has a hundred-year history and can today call itself one of the largest in the airbrush.
In 1923 in Hamburg, two young engineering students put their heads together and formed a metal fabrication factory. August Harder and Wilhelm Steenbeck named the company simply ``Harder & Steenbeck'', and initially manufactured capacitors and oscillator coils needed in the manufacture of radio broadcast receivers. The radio, which had taken off and was very trendy during this time, brought productivity to the company, but also from schools for which they produced educational materials. During the coming global economic crisis that came a few years later, the state had to stop much of the funding to the school system that gave Harder & Steenbeck fertility, which led to them having to scale back their manufacturing.
In 1931, Wilhelm Steenbeck leaves to devote himself entirely to his second company, W. Steenbeck & Co. who manufactured editing tables for film. August Harder thus gets to steer the ship further on his own, and sees another new explosive industry to bet on; Cars. Harder & Steenbeck now produces parts for Opel, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen. That is until World War II, when they are instead forced to manufacture the sonar systems for the warships.
It was only a period after the Second World War that Harder & Steenbeck began their career as we know them today, i.e. manufacture of paint spraying equipment. They initially have the models Lüster, Majo, Autograph, Foto, Zeisig, Stieglitz, Marabu, Pelikan & Universal and come with different widths of nozzles/nozzles. Customers are primarily graphic designers, artists and retouchers. Porcelain doll and toy manufacturers, with their seats in southern Germany, have high demands on the spray equipment and look to Harder. In 1954, the models Prima, Meteor, Condor, Consul and Ultra were released in the range and the company has major customers in porcelain manufacturing such as "Rosenthal", "Schacht & Westerich" and "Königliche private Porzellanmanufaktur Fettau".
In the coming years, Hans Harder, August's nephew will start as an engineer in the company and they release their first twin-device similar to today's Evolution CR plus twin action pistol. They also start with some other bits and pieces such as an onion slicer, wind indicators and folding machines. These stop being produced during the 80s.
We jump forward about two decades - Hans Harder and an employee take over the company after August Harder dies in 1975. They take Harder & Steenbeck further in the manufacture of airbrushes, paint sprayers and other metal parts for the industry. Hans leads the company until 1992 when Michael Strube takes over and they move their headquarters from Hamburg-Altona to Oststeinbek. Jens Matthiessen, who in the early 1980s was employed by Harder as a precision mechanic's assistant, joins forces with Strube and becomes a shareholder. He has a master's degree in precision mechanics and is responsible for all product development and patenting in the company. The following year, in 1996, Harder & Steenbeck released their first new airbrush models in over 40 years - Grafo and Colani. In Grafo, the first exchangeable nozzle system is introduced so that the user can use one and the same airbrush but with different sizes of the spray image.
At the end of the 1990s, they take over production from the competitor Hansa and later release their most popular and best-selling model ever, an airbrush that today defines Harder & Steenbeck and has sold over 80,000 copies until 2013. It is, of course, Evolution that we are talking about! In 2001, they start with compressors and increase their range greatly as they also start with cleaning accessories, holders, stencils, adapters etc. In 2004, Jens Matthiessen takes over Harder & Steenbeck Metallwarenfabrik e.K. as sole owner, modernizes the company and reviews production. They now sell over 6000 airbrushes annually. In 2007, the Infinity model is introduced, today the second best-selling of their sprayers after Evolution, which sets a completely new standard both in terms of design and functionality. In the same year, they open up in the USA and start a branch in Florida.
A couple of years later, it is time for HQ to move again, from Oststeinbek to Norderstedt, and a name change takes place in the same vein from Harder & Steenbeck Metallwarenfabrik e.K. to Harder & Steenbeck GmbH & Co. KG. In 2012, they opened a flagship store - ''Airbrush Universe'', and began a collaboration with Taiwanese Sparmax, a manufacturer of compressors for which Harder takes over the distribution in Germany. Today, with its 100-year history, the company has a status as one of the largest in airbrushing, both for beginners and professional users, and produces around 20,000 airbrush sprayers annually!
Highlights Est. 2001