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Reutter - Throughout the years
Founder Martl - At the pottery bench (1948)
Martha “Martl” Zimmermann was born on the 19th of September in 1921. During World War II she worked as a teacher in Posen, Germany.
The uncertainty of finding appropriate employment after the war was very high, therefore, the 24 year old Martl decided to start an apprenticeship as a potter. Her final work as an apprentice was to create a special journeyman’s piece.
That Christmas her pottery teacher gave his daughter a doll’s house for which Martl had to potter tableware in several variations, for the little girl to use to play. The little girl had a lot of joy with the small doll’s toys.
At that time there was no possibility to buy such toys for the doll’s house. It was also very expensive to produce tableware in such a small size. The final work turned out to be quite difficult for the young Martl.
By doing this particular journeyman’s piece, Martl improved her professional skills in pottery and learned to reduce large shapes to small shapes and to adapt them to the scale of the doll’s house. Little by little her enthusiasm for creating small pottery pieces became a passion for miniatures.
Driven by passion and talent, Martl decided in 1948 to found a small business, the former Reutter Porzellan GmbH (from which today's Reutter Miniaturen GmbH developed), which was entered in the commercial register as a small pottery workshop in the same year.
Not until 1954 were the porcelain items marked with a golden stamp of the cloister of Denkendorf and with lettering “Denkendorf.”
In 1948 Martl married Willy Reutter. In 1956 Willy left his position as a precision engineer to help Martl with the company. Willy Reutter’s background in precision engineering and machine construction later lead him to develop a method of extruding small porcelain pieces out of a lifting press.
M.W. Reutter also offered the hobby market mosaic tables which were “in vogue” in that time. They were sold as an assembly set containing wooden tables, tesserae and samples so that the customers could design their own tables.
M. W. Reutter even sold painting craft kits containing white porcelain with patterns for both children and adults.
These two hobby items were incorporated into the complete line so that M. W. Reutter could stand out against the competition.
One year at the Toy Fair, the couple thought of expanding their line with additional products for children including tea sets. By the end of the fifties, children’s tea sets, gift items and toy miniatures in porcelain were produced for the first time.
In the early 70’s the collection kept growing and new markets were discovered. One such market was a large range of brandy jars developed and supplied to distilleries in the Black Forest, Austria and Switzerland. The souvenir market also began to take shape with a large range of items being produced with special designs and shapes.
Miniatures at that time mostly had a kind of farmer and country design decorations. Most of the miniatures were real play toys, but the time of the “shadow boxes” had just started, which made the miniatures perfect for decorations in wooden wall displays.
Martl and Willy had two sons: Bernd and Bertram.
The older son joined the company as a technical ceramic engineer in 1974. His younger brother Bertram Reutter followed him in 1980 as master of economics. Bertram Reutter continues today as the Managing Director of the company. Both sons changed the production process, the administration and collection of the company in the following years to cope with the changing market.
By 1979 a new industrial zone was established in Denkendorf and M. W. Reutter took the opportunity to unite the production again in a newly built facility.
In the 80’s, the miniatures became increasingly popular and the company specialized more and more into this field. Many more details in the miniatures were requested so they became thinner, finer and smaller.
The growing export market of the company made it necessary to change and develop products for the different markets. The miniatures, which originally were in a scale of 1:9 and 1:10 needed to be scaled down for the American and English market to a size of 1:12. Step by step the whole collection was changed into this size.
Founder Martl - 1991
Today Reutter Miniaturen produces nearly all of it’s miniatures in this size. As demand and interest for miniatures increased, more and more wooden furniture was developed to display the miniatures.
Following this success, other famous designs were added to the line.
In 1993 Willy Reutter passed away very unexpectedly and Martl followed in 1997. Both were active until their passing and contributed with their advice to the development of the company.
In 2012 Reutter Porzellan developed more and more miniature items for the souvenir market. Such as miniature tables with little tea-sets and mini displays with a special arrangement of miniatures.
In 2012 the company received active support from the son Philipp as a business economist and daughter Michelle as a communication designer. The younger generation has changed the media presentation of the company.
Due to the economic challenges of the pandemic, Reutter is concentrating on its main business and has decided to follow its passion for miniatures. In 2022 the company was re-established under a different name: Reutter Porzellan is now Reutter Miniaturen. The miniatures are now the only product area of Reutter. In addition, the family business has moved into new office and production areas in Ostfildern near Stuttgart.
With the move to the new production facility, the generational change was also completed and the daughter Michelle Reutter was appointed General Manager, while her brother Philipp is taking care on IT and Logistic systems. This secured the existence and further development of the company.
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