About us

Harder & Steenbeck

In 2013 Harder & Steenbeck celebrated the company’s 90th anniversary. The celebrations provided an opportunity to receive an in-depth look into the history of our corporation. Thorough research had revealed the ups and downs our business had gone through; changes closely linked to the world history. It shed light on people and products who shaped the company’s image. It was incredibly insightful and interesting to observe the leitmotiv, which had defined the company character of “Harder & Steenbeck” ever since its humble beginnings. We call it: “The joy of innovation”.

Mission Statement

Environmental Prodection

Harder & Steenbeck is committed to contributing to the protection of the environment and the climate. They use high-quality European raw materials and recycle surplus materials during the manufacturing of their airbrushes. Oil and grinding water from production are also recycled in an environmentally conscious manner.

All printed materials are produced in German companies that print in a carbon-neutral way, with CO2 emissions kept to a minimum and compensated for through recognized climate projects. They support established environmental protection projects and use recyclable paper from sustainable forest managements. They exclusively procure green electricity from natural sustainable sources in Northern Germany, avoiding the use of electricity generated by coal-fired and atomic power stations. Harder & Steenbeck's commitment to sustainability and environmental protection sets an excellent example for other companies to follow.

Mission Statement

Electronic Equipment

This information is for end users of electrical and electronic equipment and highlights the importance of environmentally-friendly disposal of old devices. The Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) should not be disposed of with residual waste, and owners must separate them from municipal waste and hand them in at collection points.

Owners must also separate old batteries and accumulators not built into the device. The symbol for separate collection of electrical and electronic equipment is a crossed-out wheeled bin. Old devices can be returned to collection points set up by public waste disposal authorities for proper recycling. Information on collection and return points can be found on the website https://www.ear-system.de/ear-verzeichnis/sammel-und-ruecknahmestellen. Information about EU-wide guidelines and national collection points can be found on the website of the European Environment Agency.

Mission Statement

Employee Philosophy

Hand in hand teamwork and social equality are very important to us. For that reason we currently employ 39 full-time employees, including two individuals with severe handicaps.

Our working premises, including all operational plant, machinery and equipment, are designed to facilitate the handicapped workers, so none of the staff members feels at disadvantage during work.


Our History

Company History


In Hamburg, young engineers and fellow students August Harder and Wilhelm Steenbeck, establish the factory for metal goods production, named “Harder & Steenbeck”.

Initially the company produces various capacitors, oscillator coils and other products needed for the manufacturing of radio broadcast receivers! At the beginning of the 20th century the radio receivers were considered a booming and trendy product, especially as the first radio program began its regular transmission in Berlin.

Later the company’s product range was extended and included the production of experimental devices for physics in schools and engineering universities.

Company History


Wilhelm Steenbeck leaves the company in order to pursue his own business, focused on precision engineering, and August Harder continues with Harder & Steenbeck on his own, and he switches the production focus on to manufacturing of accessories for the booming car industry.

Such companies as Opel, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz, are producing the first German cars. They use parts, including grease fittings and switches for starters, produced by Harder & Steenbeck.

Company History

From 1950

After the war, due to the lack of demand for sonar-systems, Harder & Steenbeck starts the production of paint spraying equipment. Initially, due to the new field of production, foreign models are copied. However with time own, proprietary designs are created and developed.

First models are the considered the following: Lüster, Majo, Autograph, Foto, Zeisig, Stieglitz, Marabu, Pelikan and Universal. Models such as Lüster and Majo are equipped with different sets of nozzles, created according to requirements of the customers.

Their nozzle sizes cover the range from 0.3 to 1.0 mm in diameter. Autograph and Foto are tools for precision. They are furnished with 0.2 mm nozzles, and used especially for photo retouching. The spray guns are sold to graphic designers, retouching companies, artists and painters. The porcelain doll and toy industries, located mainly in southern Germany, feature the highest demands for the airbrushes. Early on the company already supplies other European countries (such as Denmark, Finland and Switzerland).

Company History

From 1954

New models are introduced: Prima, Meteor, Condor, Consul, Ultra. The product range now includes the blow-out device called “Ultra A”, which resembles the Airblower featured later in 2010.

Harder & Steenbeck’s major customers include porcelain manufactories such as “Rosenthal”, “Schacht & Westerich” and “Königliche private Porzellanmanufaktur Fettau”. In addition to this development, suitable air connectors (connecting elements) are produced, which can be used with other air-operated devices.

Company History


The company founder August Harder dies. His nephew Hans Harder and an employee, take over the company’s leadership. In addition to paint spraying equipment, the company has been manufacturing small mechanical machines, such as onion-slicers, wind indicators and tube-folding machines since the early 1950s. The production will continue until the 1980s.

Another important line of business for Harder & Steenbeck is the contract manufacturing of paint spraying equipment and various other metal goods. To this date date, Harder & Steenbeck supplies porcelain and toy manufacturing businesses, medical and cosmetics companies and many other dealers, with specially developed unique custom airbrush models.

Company History


For the first time in over 40 years, Harder & Steenbeck presents two new airbrush models: Grafo and Colani. With the Grafo the company introduces universally interchangeable nozzle sets. In the following years, this design will be extended (especially in regards to the Evolution) a modular construction system which is spanning across various models.

This provides the customers with flexible conversion options and grants the company with higher efficiency in assembly and warehousing. The Colani is based on the technology and functionality of its predecessor, the 1954 Ultra. Harder & Steenbeck commissions famous German designer Luigi Colani to design and color the handle; he is also the one, who lends his name to the device.

Company History


The company launches the Evolution airbrush. The Evolution is considered the company’s biggest success and most sold airbrush, which makes Harder & Steenbeck to what it is today. Starting with the launch of the airbrush, until 2013, the company will sell a total of over 80,000 Evolution model airbrushes.

Company History


The new Ultra airbrush is launched! This low-price model for a small budget, adopts the name of the earlier successful Harder & Steenbeck product but is completely new in its design, quality and engineering.

Company History


Harder & Steenbeck introduces the Infinity airbrush. This model puts completely new standards in place in both its design and functionality! It will become the company’s top sold airbrush, next to the Evolution. In the same year the company goes onto the global market and starts the sales in the US, being represented by Anke Matthiessen (CEO Jens Matthiessen’s sister) and Mike Littlefield. “Harder & Steenbeck USA” is based in Brooksville, Florida.

Company History


The company relocates its company headquaters one more time from Oststeinbek to Norderstedt. It changes its name from Harder & Steenbeck Metallwarenfabrik e.K. to Harder & Steenbeck GmbH & Co. KG. Using a storage lift system, introduced in 2008, the company now has around 1,000 square meters of high-rack space at its disposal, as well as additional storage capacity of several hundred square meters.

This ensures faster delivery, improves inventory management and caters for faster operations during the final assembly. Production processes are optimized according to ISO standards in order to ensure maximum reliability. In addition Harder & Steenbeck plays a key-role in the founding and establishment of the “Airbrush-Fachverband e. V.”, and CEO Jens Matthiessen is elected to be part of its committee.

Company History


For the first time, Harder & Steenbeck offers a multi-coated and chrome-finished CR Plus version for its product lines Infinity and Evolution.

Company History


Harder & Steenbeck is employing 16 people: 6 in administration and 10 in production. The company has more than tripled its production and sales volume within 10 year. It produces about 20,000 airbrushes every year for customers all over the world. In May 2013, the company celebrated its 90th anniversary with over 200 guests.

Company History


Harder & Steenbeck now employs 39 people,  11 in administration and 28 in production. The company has more than tripled its production and sales volume within the last 10 years. It produces about 60,000 airbrushes every year for customers all over the world. In 2023, the company celebrates its 100th anniversary.

If you are already a customer, or considering becoming one, thank you for joining us!

Albert Einstein

Creativity is intelligence having fun