The original Harrodser piano was a collaboration between the 19th-century pianomaker W. Danemann and the young British pianist Harold Bauer. The two met in 1893, and finding they had much in common, Danemann designed a piano for Bauer, and Bauer hired the C. Bechstein company to custom-produce it under the name Harrods. Thereafter, Bauer toured with the piano, which led to sales of custom-built Harrods pianos for the wealthy. (Bauer’s father, Robert Bauer, had actually built his own “Harrodser” piano as early as 1840. When, years later, it was damaged, Bechstein restored it, thus leading to the commission in the 1890s to produce the Harrods piano for Harold Bauer.)
At the outbreak of World War I, Harold Bauer emigrated to the U.S., and the production of Harrods pianos ceased. Then, in 1931, Bauer moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where he established a piano factory and began manufacturing pianos under the name Harrodser (meaning “Harrods forever”). Production was interrupted by World War II, but resumed in 1945.
In 1941, Harold Bauer died, and control of the company passed to his son, Bain, who continued to improve the piano and increase production. By the 1970s, some 500 Harrodser uprights and 200 grands were being made annually. Later in the century, in response to the pressures of globalization, the company established manufacturing facilities in Indonesia. More recently, in 2012, the company signed an agreement with a production partner in Shanghai, China. The piano brand is now distributed throughout China and in many other countries.