Past to Present: Celebrating National Tile Day


Feb 23rd, 2018

by Tile Wholesalers

Tile History

The evolution of tile over thousands of years!

Today, February 23rd, 2018, is the second annual National Tile Day! National Tile Day recognizes a fundamental element of architecture and design. The day was created by Coverings, North America's largest international tile and stone show, to highlight the benefits and importance of tile in residential and commercial design.

So how did tile become such an essential and timeless element in architecture and design? In celebration of National Tile Day, we are here to share the remarkable evolution of tile throughout the decades. Around the world, tile plays a variety of roles, and has been used for the beautification of interior and exterior spaces for thousands of years.

Here is a brief history of tile as we know it, one of the most versatile and durable building materials in the world!


Some of the earliest clay and mud tiles have been dated to be seven thousand years old! These prehistoric tiles were produced in places such as Israel and Palestine, and masonry traditions go back to biblical times and beyond!

The first decorative tiles were produced in Egypt in roughly 4000 B.C. The Assyrians, Babylonians, and Mesopotamians were involved in tile making procedures and spread this art form to the Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Persians, and Turks.

European conquistadors brought decorative clay tiles to the New World, where they were used primarily to decorate churches and cathedrals. North and South American artisans quickly embraced the tradition.

In the late 1800s, expensive imported tiles were installed in the homes of the elite in colonial America. The upper class incorporated tile in their fireplaces, bathrooms, and foyers to showcase their wealth. Custom murals were incorporated into public spaces such as the Times Square subway station in New York City, where the term "subway tile" comes from.

Tile factories were built and newer technology allowed for stronger tiles with more durable glaze. Larger sheets could be manufactured by machines and by the 1950s, tiles were being implemented in homes everywhere. Since then, its beauty, utility and affordability have never been questioned.

The tile industry has continued to evolve. Porcelain body floor tiles and white body ceramic wall tiles use digital ink-jet technology to achieve authentic stone and wood appearances. Many tile manufacturers are proactive in using recycled materials and taking other measures to help preserve the environment.

Today, interior design encourages new trends and changes more rapidly than ever before. Tile Wholesalers strives to keep you informed and educated on the ever-changing tile trends and technology. Happy National Tile Day from all of us at Tile Wholesalers!