Düren, Glashüttenwerk

The Peill & Putzler that is today renowned for glassware and lighting resulted in the 1947 merger of Peill & Söhn and Gebrüder Putzler. In 1903, Leopold Peill (1872-1941) founded Peill & Söhn glassworks in Düren, specializing in cut glass for tableware. It became an important German manufacturer and from 1933 Peill served as president of the Aachen Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Notable employees of Peill & Söhn included designer Wolfgang von Wersin (1882-1976), architect Georg Metzendorf (1874-1934) and graphic designer Fritz Rehm (1871-1928). At the 1947 establishment of Peill & Putzler Glashütte, the factory remained in Düren but enlarged (to include 5 furnaces) with the partnership of Gebrüder Putzler Glashütte from Penzig, Silesia, who, from 1869, specialized in creating light fittings. At its height the factory was the largest employer in Düren with 1,500 workers. Building on Peill’s long tradition of working with important designers, the company went on to hire German designer and former student and artisan of Bauhaus Weimar, Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900-1990), who designed lighting for them from 1952 to 1958. His sinuous and minimalist designs are still associated with the firm. Peill & Putzler was a founding member of the Design Council in 1953 and it was during this decade that it became a leading force in the country’s design industry, specializing in glass and crystal tableware, vases, and pendant lamps. Other collaborators during this period included the industrial designer and historian Wilhelm Braun-Feldweg (1908-1998), glass designer Aloys Ferdinand Gangkofner (1920-2003), and graphic artist and designer Helmut Demary (b. 1929). In the 1960’s skilled glassmaker and ceramicist Horst Tüselmann designed art glass for them, bringing with him his unique aesthetic vision. His creations included vases and bowls with metallic inclusions within the body, glass with surface patterns in relief, and experimentations with knobby glass. Jon Howell’s opaque glass shades (item #1316) made in the 1960s illustrate aspects of Tüselmann’s style and sensitive treatment of glass. Jon Howell is particularly interested in the work that was produced in this period, that exhibits the 1960s and 1970s fascination with the sculptural and futuristic quality of globular forms, glass, chrome, and silver foil, but that simultaneously recall Wagenfeld’s 1920s Bauhaus forms. The factory closed in 1997 but, from 2007, the Peill & Putzler name was re-used for Wagenfeld lighting designs sold by the lighting firm Paul Neuhaus. Today, the company’s historic works are conserved in several eminent museums collections such as those of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Corning Museum of Glass.

Reference:

Lorenz Eitner, “Industrial Design in Postwar Germany,” Design Quarterly, no. 40, 1957, 1-27.