Wednesday, December 20, 2006

More Thoughts on Tile

Just when you thought I’d made up my mind, I’m pulling the old switch-a-roo. When I last spoke about tile, I had just received the tile samples from There was a selection from Iron Gate and a selection from Subway Ceramics. At first, I thought made the Iron Gate tile, and that they only distributed Subway Ceramics. Now it seems that it’s the other way around, but this is still not entirely clear.

Originally, I liked the tile better because it offered the cool Victorian Profile of the base tile. The more I looked at period pictures of Victorian bathrooms, though, the more I realized that the fluted Victorian base was not all that authentic. I fell victim to this perceived notion that all things Victorian were always very, very, fancy. It’s true, they did go over the top on a lot of things, but before I really saw a lot of period interior shots of Victorian homes, the picture I had in my head of Victorian style was more that of the Rococo style of the 18th Century, and not so much of, say, for instance, the Aesthetics Movement or Art Nuevo styles that have their roots in the last 2 decades of the 19th Century.

At any rate, the point I’m trying to make, in a very long winded fashion, is that the Victorian base that I liked so much is not really all that Victorian. They might have gone Ga-Ga over it if someone had massed produced it in the 1890s, but from what I can tell they didn’t, because it wasn’t. The 6X6 tile with a cove at the bottom is what appears in most of the bathroom pictures I’ve seen.

Secondly, there is the quality of the tile. I originally said the quality was similar between the two. Having spent more time with the samples (I take them to bed with me) I’ve come to the conclusion that the Subway Ceramics tile is superior in quality. There is a roughness along the edge of the Iron Gate tile that I think comes from the way the glaze drizzles over the edge a bit. The edges have subtle bumps on them that might be hidden under a thick grout line, but I won’t be doing that. I also recently got my hands on a real live 1902, 3X6, salvaged subway tile. When comparing all three, the Subway Ceramics tile is a closer match. The only real difference between the two, is the original tile has the natural crazing that comes with age.

Furthermore, I have discovered that the Subway Ceramics ships out of Los Angles instead of some desolate location East of the Rockies. This means, I will pay less on shipping for the Subway Ceramics than I would for the Iron Gate tile. Oh, and finally, I’m in negotiations with Subway Ceramics to advertise on my site. More on that later. In the mean time, enjoy some more Snow Art.

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