Since 4,000 BC, tile has been used to decorate buildings. Often utilized for religious purposes, the history of glass tile has followed a long path before ending up in your bathroom and/or kitchen.
The Temple of Uruk in Mesopotamia is the oldest known example of tile mosaics being constructed. By 200 BC, ancient Romans were using tiles for decorations and developed “tesserae,” or small cubic tiles used to form detailed images. In 500 AD, the Byzantine artists were specifically making glass tiles, known as “smalti,” in bright colors using flecks of varying metals, similar to modern methods.
Around the turn of the millennium, the “Church of Gold” was constructed in Venice and displayed mosaic art on every surface. Continuing the trend of glass decoration into the middle-ages, tile mosaics lost popularity in favor of stained-glass, though technological advances allowed for more tiles to be produced during the Victorian-age.
These advances improved the quality of available glass tiles through the 20th century’s Art-Noeveau movement and beyond. Although there was a slight decline in popularity during the middle of the century, glass tiles made from recycled-materials helped spur a contemporary trend.
Contact Conestoga Tile today to bring the history of glass tile into your home.