Everything in the world has a history, even tiles! Have you ever wondered where these design features originated from? They can be found all over the world in commercial and residential properties, and if you’re looking to purchase tiles, you’ll have realised just how many different designs and types are available.

The history of tiles is interesting, and you may find yourself appreciating them a little more when you know more of their history.

Stack of red ceramic roof tiles

The Beginning of Tile History

Around 3300 BC, ancient cities like Babylon created bright blue, high sheen tiles, which were given their colour by a cobalt glaze. These tiles were used to create beautiful decoration within the ancient buildings. Roughly around the same time period, the ancient Egyptians created similar tiles to line their embellished tombs and religious temples, as well as many well-known pyramids.

When Were The First Tiles Used?

In Northern Europe, the first tiles were used during the middle ages. During the thirteenth century, mosaic floors made of lead-glazed tiles were laid in the abbey churches of Fountains, Byland, and Rievaulx in North Yorkshire. The greatest innovation in medieval tile making was the production of ‘two-colour’ tiles that consisted of inserting white coloured clay into the red clay of the body. After glazing, the white clay became yellow and the red clay turned a deep red-brown.

Such tiles were decorated with a range of simplified floral patterns, figurative designs, and religious images, and were used to create stunning floors in churches, royal houses and in the houses of the rich. The nineteenth century saw the common technique of transfer printing on tiles from images taken from engraved copper plates.

The Present Day

Tiles today are used much more frequently within households, most notably in the kitchen or bathroom area. Ceramic tiles can be glazed with different colours and printed with any design, so tiles can be tailored to different people’s tastes.

Here at Rockform, we stock beautiful Italian porcelain tiles and exquisite glass mosaics, and with our new tile production technology, we can create a wealth of amazing and varied bathroom and wall tile designs to suit all tastes. Get in touch with a member of our team today for more information on what we offer.