The Berlin firm Puhl & Wagner was founded in 1889. As the court suppliers of Wilhelm II., the company received extensive state commissions and within a few years it had developed into the leading producer of glass mosaics. In 1904, the firm moved into a new building in Berlin-Treptow designed by Franz Schwechten. Puhl & Wagner amalgamated with the stained glass company Gottfried Heinersdorff in 1914. Since Heinersdorff worked together with several Expressionist artists, the mosaic workshop - which had been committed to Historicism in the past – began to open its doors to modern art. After 1933, state commissions from the Nazi regime gave a new boost to the workshops. During the fifties, the company succeeded in acquiring commissions, primarily from private businesses, as Germany was gradually reconstructed. However, the building of the Wall and the isolation of West-Berlin led to its dissolution in 1969.
The archive comprises around 4,000 design cartoons, photographs and c. 300 metres of files. These are documents relating to well-known artists and architects working in Germany between 1900 and 1960. Among many others, artists who worked for the company and are thus represented by documents in the archive include Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Cesar Klein, Otto Dix, Heinrich Campendonk, Jan Thorn Prikker, Jacoba van Heemskerck, Otto Freundlich, Marcel Breuer, Erich Mendelsohn, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Hans Poelzig and Albert Speer.
The archive was acquired in 1975 from the Berlin Senate for Art and Science with funds from the Foundation DKLB.