*A Short History of Ceramic Tile

March 13, 2012

Ceramic tile is one of the most flexible and attractive home improvement products available today.

Ceramic tiles can be put to great use as a flooring material, on walls and can be added to countertops to offer endless design and decorating opportunities to homeowners everywhere. What you may not realize though is just how long ceramic tile has been around.

The earliest ancestors of the modern ceramic tile date back to prehistoric times. Made from clay dug from the sides of riverbanks, these early tiles were crudely shaped and not as strong as their modern counterparts but even back then, craftsman were adding pigments for a splash of color and carving patterns into their surface before they were left to bake in the sun.

It was apparently the ancient Egyptians who first came up with the idea of firing tiles in a kiln to give them extra strength. The Romans and the Greeks then put ceramic tiles to great use for the floors, roofs, and even the plumbing in their buildings.

Around the same time, the Chinese were using a white clay called kaolin to create the earliest forerunners of porcelain ceramic tiles. Persian ceramicists, inspired by imported Chinese porcelain, created a decorative tradition, spreading across South Asia, North Africa, into Spain with the Moors, and eventually throughout Europe.

Great examples of these ancient ceramic tiles can still be seen today. Although the manufacturing process has changed over the years, the usefulness and attractive appearance of ceramic tile has not. Walk into a great tile store and you will be faced with a myriad of ceramic tile choices to be used for almost any purpose in and/or around the house. All you have to decide is which of the many choices are the right ones for your needs.

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