Claas has recently announced the passing of Reinhold Claas, last remaining son of the August Claas, who pioneered the company’s move into forage and harvesting over a century ago.

Having suffered from the devastation of war Reinhold Claas, along with his bother Helmut, was instrumental in rebuilding the family company from the late-40s onwards.

Baler production

His main focus was on the development of balers and forage harvesters. Among other things, he was responsible for setting up baler production at the newly built factory in Metz, France.

He kept himself involved until the 1970s and it was thanks to his efforts that the production site developed to its current size and capacity.

Reinhold Claas Bautz harvester
Claas are now world leaders in combine technology

Reinhold Claas was also the driving force behind the takeover of Josef Bautz GmbH, of Bad Saulgau in 1969, a company that originally specialised in forage machinery but went on to produce tractors and harvesters after the war.

Both companies had enjoyed great success with their respective combine models and the acquisition of Bautz brought the hydrostatically driven and technologically advanced Titan into the Claas fold

Reinhold expands harvesting business

As the managing director of the old Bautz company for many years, he further developed the Swabian affiliate into what would become the highly successful and innovative harvesting division.

Reinhold Claas was also active as an entrepreneur outside the family business. In 1958 he took over two ball bearing companies – one in Fribourg, Switzerland, with 250 employees, and another in Munderkingen, Germany with 550 employees.

He remained as the manager for both companies until the 1990s. During this active time, he also applied for a patent for more than 40 inventions.

Family life

Reinhold Claas was married to his wife, Doris, for many years before she passed away in December 2005.

The marriage produced sons Volker and Rudiger Claas. The early death of his son Volker Claas, who died in January 2022 at the age of 57, hit him particularly hard.

Reinhold Claas was socially involved in many clubs and organisations, especially in football and handball in his hometown. His great passion in his private life was hunting.