History of Making Ceramic Slabs

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Early Egyptian tile
Early Egyptian tile (Image: egyptian tile image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com)

Ceramic slabs, also called ceramic tiles, are any tile made out of clay and have been around for 4,000 years. They have been found in pyramids, the ruins of Babylon and the ruins of ancient Greek cities, according to Design Boom.

Earliest Method

Ceramic tiles were made by hand 4,000 years ago. The clay was flattened, then cut into the desired shape and dried under the sun or baked.

Mold

Later, this method improved by making wooden molds that were carved in relief to indent a pattern on the clay. After it dried, the impression was filed.

Glaze

Glazing occurred at different times in various cultures. The Egyptians used a blue glaze made of copper very early on, whereas the Chinese glaze was produced in the Shang-Yin dynasty (1523-1028 BC), says the Indian Council of Ceramic Tiles and Sanitaryware (ICCTS).

Western Europe

The Romans introduced tile making in Western Europe, according to ICCTS, as they conquered territories. By the end of the 12th century, ceramic tile making spread to Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe.

Decoration

Techniques have evolved over time to include a variety of different types of decorating, aside from glazing, and styles. Some techniques include mosaic, inlaid and sgraffito, to name a few.

Today

Most ceramic tiles are now manufactured, not hand-made, and are relatively inexpensive.

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