Carl Bechstein (1826 – 1900) was a leading designer and manufacturer of pianofortes, at one point holding the Royal Warrant of Queen Victoria. His company, C. Bechstein Pianofortefabrik, was established in 1853 in Berlin, with two more factories in the city following by 1897. The innovations and experimentation being used by many contemporary composers meant that pianos now needed to be robust enough to accommodate these pieces. Successes such as the Royal Warrant made the instruments especially popular in Britain, with the London branch of the company opening in 1885. Many of the other royal houses of Europe also appointed Bechstein as their official piano supplier. The company is still very successful today, and modern musicians such as Elton John, Freddie Mercury and Paul McCartney have all favoured Bechstein pianos at one time or another.