The History of Ceramic Tiles

How Are Ceramic Tiles Made and Where Do They Come From?

Ceramic tiles have been in use since before the birth of Christ. The earliest examples on record have been dated all the way back to 4,000 BC in ancient Egypt, when the tiles were produced as a simple form of art.

This form of tile has transcended time and they have been used in virtually every culture and region on the globe. They were used by the Babylonians in 1894 BC, the Assyrians in 25 BC, and the Islamic Empire in 632 AD. Ceramic tiles have also been used by the Tunisians in the 9th century, in Kashan Iran in the 11th century, and they were featured in mosques all throughout the Middle East during the 12th century.

In the 13th and 14th centuries, Western Europe started using ceramic tiles in its churches. The material was expensive at the time, especially glazed tile, so it was only used in churches and other prominent structures throughout England. In the 16th century, the Moorish means of making ceramic tile started to become popular in northern Spain.

The Introduction of Mass-Produced Tile

Britain become the first country to mass-produce ceramic tile in the 19th century, with the industry peaking during the Industrial Revolution. Shortly after, however, the industry started to decline. Tile manufacturers in the United States enjoyed a similar burst of success during this time, but the industry eventually stalled there, as well.

It wouldn’t be until the Arts & Crafts movement of 1880 that handcrafted ceramic tile would become back in demand. Tiles made during this period were popular for use in fireplace interior and surrounds, and as wall decorations.

Ceramic Tile in the 20th Century

During the 20th century, ceramic tile started being marketed to homeowners for use in the kitchen and bathroom. The product was being emphasized for its sanitary hygiene properties. It was around this time that metro tiles were being introduced throughout England’s metro system. Colorful tiled wall murals were also being featured throughout England as well.

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