Bechstein

Carl Bechstein was born in Germany in 1826 and while still young was taught by his stepfather to play piano, violin and cello. One of his sisters married a piano-maker, Johann Gleitz, and as Bechstein reached maturity it was decided that he was to become a piano­maker and would serve an apprenticeship with Gleitz.

Following his apprenticeship, Bechstein travelled. He visited the piano-maker Pleyel in Dresden, and then moved to Berlin where his talents soon got him a position of responsibility running the small factory of the famous German piano-malker G. Perau. But Bechstein wanted to learn more about the French school of piano-making, then considered the best in the world, and in 1849 he left Berlin for Paris where he was fortunate enough to be able  to study the methods of both Pape and Kriegelstein. He learned much frorn the excellent French craftsmen and designers, in particular how to obtain greater sound levels from both upright and grand pianos, and also acquired valuable knowledge of the commercial side of the piano industry.

Bechstein returned to Berlin in 1852 to takt charge of the Perau factory, and arter another spell as superintendent at Kriegelstein in Paris he finally settled back in Berlin. He set about designing his own piano. By 1856 he had attracted the attention of the famous pianist Hans von Bulow, who subsequently praised the Bechstein instruments.

A few months later Bechstein went to a concert given by Franz Liszt and, like Ignaz Bösendorfer some three decades earlier, was amazed by the ferocity of Liszt's playing. Bechstein witnessed the snapping of the strings of Liszt's Erard piano, and decided his instruments had to be able to take this kind of punishment.  He enlisted  Bulow to test his designs and eventually persuaded Liszt and Bulow to perform together using Bechstein pianos. Liszt became a great supporter and a personal friend of Bechstein. In keeping with the other great piano manufacturers, Carl Bechstein established  in 1892 the Bechstein Hall near Potsdamer Platz, Berlin.

In the first seven years of its existence, the Bechstein company produced 176 instruments. By 1900 (the year Carl Bechstein died) production had increased to nearly 3,700 instruments. Although Carl  Bechstein had not been a great innovator, his forte had been to utilise the best ideas from other manufacturers and to put them together to make a truly great instrument. On his death Carl Bechstein left his sons Edwin, Carl and Johann in charge of the business.

Business continued to thrive after Carl's death. and in 1912 the 100,000th Bechstein was produced. The popularity of Bechstein instruments continued for many years, althoug output never increased above 5,000 pianos a year. The Bechstein company were always keen to innovate. In 1926 they introduced the Lilliput grand (a 7X-octave instrument that was just 5ft 4in long) and were also  active in producing player pianos using Welte & Sohne mechanisms. Bechstein embodied the Moor system for two keyboard and also produced the Neo Bechstein, their first and only foray into the world of the electric piano.

The years of the Great Depression saw production slump (they built just over 600 instruments in 1933) and with the death of the brothers the company was owned primarily by Helene Bechstein. During the late 1930s production began to increase, and it was alleged primarily by other German manufacturers that Karl Bechstein was a personal friend of Adolph Hitler and that the Becbstein company made the official piano of the Third Reich,consequently obtaining great commercial gain at the time.

The Becbstein factory was badly damaged by bombing towards the end of World War II, although the Bechstein company managed to return to business soon after the cessation of hostilities. Initially they restored and repaired instruments, but by 1950 they were making close to 100 instruments a year.

 In 1963 Baldwin purchased the Bechstein company and continued to run it on traditional lines. In 1986 retailer and master technician Karl Schulze and two partners bought the company back into German hands from Baldwin. They completely restructured the Bechstein operation, closing down three of the company's factories, and setting up a new high-tech facility in Berlin in 1989.




  • År       Prod.nr.
  • 1874 - 7328
  • 1875 - 8070
  • 1876 - 8924
  • 1877 - 9596
  • 1878 - 10213
  • 1879 - 10933
  • 1880 - 11676
  • 1881 - 12558
  • 1882 - 13596 
  • 1884 - 15705
  • 1885 - 16704
  • 1886 - 17629
  • 1887 - 19058
  • 1888 - 20640
  • 1889 - 22628
  • 1890 - 24958
  • 1891 - 27456
  • 1892 - 30198
  • 1893 - 32735
  • 1894 - 35111
  • 1895 - 37785
  • 1896 - 40448
  • 1897 - 43352
  • 1898 - 46879
  • 1899 - 50490
  • 1900 - 54181
  • 1901 - 57871
  • 1902 - 61615
  • 1903 - 65809
  • 1904 - 69829
  • 1905 - 78185
  • 1907 - 82390
  • 1908 - 86114
  • År       Prod.nr.
  • 1909 - 90138
  • 1910 - 94753
  • 1911 - 99469
  • 1912 - 103786
  • 1913 - 108112
  • 1914 - 110016
  • 1915 - 110898
  • 1916 - 112067
  • 1917 - 113123
  • 1918 - 113773
  • 1919 - 114822
  • 1920 - 115783
  • 1921 - 117126
  • 1922 - 119211
  • 1923 - 121322
  • 1924 - 123320
  • 1925 - 126160
  • 1926 - 128572
  • 1927 - 131473
  • 1928 - 133743
  • 1929 - 136067
  • 1930 - 137446
  • 1932 - 138345
  • 1933 - 138989
  • 1935 - 139999
  • 1936 - 140714
  • 1937 - 141600
  • 1938 - 142417
  • 1939 - 143270
  • 1940 - 143890
  • 1941 - 144360
  • 1942 - 144740
  • 1943 - 145000

  • År       Prod.nr.
  • 1944 - 145220
  • 1945 - 146235
  • 1950 - 147000
  • 1951 - 147133
  • 1952 - 147300
  • 1953 - 147600
  • 1954 - 148000
  • 1955 - 148400
  • 1956 - 148650
  • 1957 - 148850
  • 1958 - 149900
  • 1959 - 150600
  • 1960 - 151950
  • 1961 - 152683
  • 1962 - 153400
  • 1963 - 154306
  • 1964 - 155300
  • 1965 - 156400
  • 1966 - 157570
  • 1967 - 158740
  • 1968 - 159840
  • 1969 - 161100
  • 1970 - 162300
  • 1971 - 163400
  • 1972 - 164400
  • 1973 - 165470
  • 1974 - 166600
  • 1975 - 167800
  • 1976 - 168950
  • 1977 - 170150
  • 1978 - 171350
  • 1979 - 172550
  • 1980 - 173785
  • 1981 - 174819