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The History Behind Ceramic Tile Flooring

Ceramic tile is a unique flooring material that has been used on the floors of churches, castles, and homes for thousands of years. Learn about the interesting history of how ceramic tile came to be used in the U.S. and modern homes.

The Beginning of Tile Making: Based on ancient tile artifacts, it is presumed that man has been making tile for approximately 4,000 years. Tile making was developed in the Middle East, but it was refined in Europe. Initially, the process of making tile was tedious, laborious, and took 24 hours to complete. Tile manufacturers had to load and fire their pieces in large batches using a stationary kiln, which often made tiles look uneven. During the 1800s, the Europeans brought tile and firing kilns to the United States, where the process of making tile became even more precise and efficient.

Technological Advantages: As American technology advanced, the tunnel kiln was created, allowing for an easier firing process. This revolutionary kiln design featured a moving transport device that would convey the tile along a heated path. To begin, tiles were loaded into carts and then pushed through the kiln. This took a lot of manpower since the carts could be heavy and the tunnel could reach up to 200 feet long. Over time, industry manufacturers introduced conveyor belts to the tunnel kiln, which removed the need for human muscle.


Installing Tiles

Ceramic Tile Making Catches Up to the 20th Century: In the 1960s, the roller-hearth kiln was developed to speed up the firing process. The kiln consisted of a series of ceramic rollers that were operated by a set of gears. These gears would convey a single layer of tiles through the firing zone, which allowed each tile to be exposed to the same amount of heat. This allowed tile makers to better control the look and uniformity of their tiles and it reduced the firing time to under an hour. 

Ceramic tile can provide a unique and rustic look to any home. If your floors need a facelift, then contact Bay Carpet to discuss your new floor today. Call us at (718) 366-5001 for more information.