Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Restoration Resource-Encaustic tile

For most people the only exposure to encaustic tile might be those small hexagonal tiles white and black tiles you see in a bathroom. But encaustic tile was extensivly used during the Victorian era and was at its most popular in Victorian era England.

What were called encaustic tiles in the Victorian Era were originally called "inlaid tiles" during the medieval period. The use of the word "encaustic" to describe an inlaid tile of two or more colors is technically incorrect. The word encaustic means "burning in" from the Greek en "in" and kaiein "to burn". The term originally described a process of painting with a Beeswax-based paint that was then fired with heat. It was also applied to a process of medieval enameling. The term did not come into use when describing tile until the 19th century. Supposedly, Victorians thought that the two color tiles strongly resembled enamel work and so called them encaustic. Despite the error, the term has now been in common use for so long that it is an accepted name for inlaid tile work.
There are a number of companies now reproducing these classic tiles and my personal favorite is Tile Source althought there are now hundreds of companies, many in England that have resurrected this art. Although expensive prices are coming down and they are great for a small entry or hall.


Lundy said...

Hi Paul,
I know that the term 'encaustic' is erroneously used to refer to a couple of types of tile, but that is the way it is.

I am building on the Gulf Coast, and wanted 'encaustic cement' tiles on my floors. Couldn't locate what I wanted, so I have made my own designs and found a factory to make them. I got my first 'strike offs' a few weeks ago and some additional photos of how they are turning out yesterday. Big shipment for new house goes out July 17th by ship.
Thought you might like to see. Over time, you may run into people doing restorations who need this kind of tile.

I designed it for

Hope these links work, I'll do it differently again here:
Cement Tile
Concrete Modular House

Best wishes, Lundy

Paul Wilham said...

Great website! I love it when new resources appear that I didnt know about.Looks liek a great product line.