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 A History of Tiles

 

  • The word 'Ceramic' comes from the Greek word Keramos, meaning pottery
  • The earliest known use of tiles was about 4000BC in Egypt, where clay bricks were baked in the sun, used a blue glaze made from copper.
  • They were also found in Mesopotamia (Iraq) dating from 4000BC, here they had already begun to vary the color decoration of the tiles.
  • First ceramic tiles produced in China (Shang-Yin Dynasty, 1523-1028BC)
  • Tiles  in Pompeii are still in very good condition, even after being buried for 2000 years in ash .
  • Tile decoration was perfected in Persia
  • In the 11th century, Arabian influence led Spain to become a major ceramic tile producer
  • Tile production really took off in Europe in the 12th century specifically Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, and Holland, each with a different style of tile
  • The first production factory was in Malaga then moved to the Mediterranean coast. 
  • As early tiles were handmade, the techniques were passed from father to son so very few written reports into the techniques used exist
  • Tile production in North America began in the 19th century when European craftsmen brought it with them to the New World