RECARO: A company history in six seats

7/19/2019 | 3 min. read

We are a new player in the gaming chair market, but there is a history of more than 100 years behind the RECARO brand. What follows: an excerpt from our company history based on some very special products—and how this tradition is reflected in the RECARO Exo gaming seat.

Recognizing opportunities, opening up new business fields, and raising the bar again and again. The success of RECARO has always been based on the fact that we do not manufacture average products. We only keep what has proven itself. Over the decades, we have developed a high standard and a valuable tradition. In this blog, we take you on a journey through time—from the predecessor of the drop-top to the RECARO Exo gaming seat.

1906: The Emperor and the Saddler

Kaiser Wilhelm II was less than enthusiastic about this new invention chugging through the streets of his empire at the turn of the century. “The horse is here to stay, but the automobile is only a novelty—a fad,” he deemed. A 32-year-old master saddler from Stuttgart saw things differently. Wilhelm Reutter, who had until that point been working in a company making carriage superstructures, saw an opportunity in these vehicles. So in 1906 he founded a new company that built custom bodies and interiors for automobiles. In 1909, he presented his first major innovation: Stuttgarter Karosseriewerk Reutter & Co. patented “Reutter’s Reform-Karosserie,” the predecessor to today’s convertible. The picture shows the workforce in 1908—including the metal seat shell of an early seat from Reutter’s manufacturing works.

After the Second World War, Reutter became the main supplier of the new Porsche car brand: the majority of the bodies for the Porsche 356 were built in the Reutter factory in Zuffenhausen—including the interior and seats.

1963: The Sports Car and the Seat

In 1963, Reutter sold the car body plant to Porsche, changed its name to RECARO (REutter CAROsserie) and concentrated on the development and production of seats, among others for the iconic 911 sports car. In 1965 came the big hit. The new RECARO sports seat was the first car seat to offer guided lateral support, ergonomically optimized contouring of the backrest, and foam padding. It was designed differently from the ground up and was significantly lighter than previous car seats. The RECARO sports seat was also the first seat that could be retrofitted regardless of car make and model. The backrest could be individually adjusted. A racing seat with a shell construction for rally use followed in 1967.

1971: The Racetrack and the Runway

With the dawn of the new decade, RECARO became a high-flying company and entered the market for aircraft seats in addition to its car seat business. International airlines such as Lufthansa, Hapag-Lloyd, Korean Airlines, and others were impressed by the product and its lightweight construction. RECARO Aircraft Seating still supplies international airlines to this day.

Lightweight construction was also in demand on the ground: the first professional racing seat from RECARO was designed in 1974 for the special demands of motorsports. This was particularly evident in the choice of materials: the racing shell of the “RECARO profi” was made of lightweight Kevlar and covered with self-extinguishing Nomex. These revolutionary new motorsports seats were the result of close cooperation with well-known racing drivers and many test miles.

1987: The Design and the Claim

At RECARO, design does not only mean aesthetics. Design must be functional and ergonomically correct, but it must also have character, an expression. Nothing embodied this credo as much as the new product with which RECARO opened up a new business field around a decade later: the first RECARO child seat that grew with the child hit the market in 1998.

2019: The Here and Now

And with that, we have arrived in the present. In 2019, we launched our first gaming seat, the RECARO Exo. Like our founder Wilhelm Reutter, we identified an opportunity. We utilize a unique shell construction, have explicitly selected the materials for the intended use, as with the “RECARO profi,” and have developed the seat together with users from the community. With its ergonomic shape and the shielding headrest, it promotes focus on the game and performance—thus ergonomics, aesthetics, and functionality are in perfect harmony. The RECARO Exo is a true RECARO original for a new market—and opens another exciting chapter in the company’s history.