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Old 10-03-2018, 12:50 PM   #1
diyhouston
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Turn of the century (circa 1900) question

I’m a student archeologist and we’ve found some tile that was made around 1900 and has raise letters and numbers on the back. They have raised ridges and a hole on the back.

Does anyone know the purpose of the numbers and hole? I presume the ridges are for helping adhere to the floor.


Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-03-2018, 08:21 PM   #2
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We aren't ignoring you Michael. Most of us around here are youngsters compared to those tiles. Very interesting.
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Old 10-05-2018, 01:09 PM   #3
Dave Gobis
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The numbers are likely the position in the die they were pressed in. The holes I am not so sure but could be part of the die release method at the time. The ridges just like modern day tile backs are usually used to provide resistance to lateral shear. www.tileheritage.org has information on old tile available. There are some good books out there on the history as well.
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:12 PM   #4
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I knew if there was someone that knew anything about what was going on in 1900, it would be Dave.

Or John.
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Old 10-05-2018, 02:14 PM   #5
John Bridge
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And what scares me is that Dave is quite a bit younger than I am. Doesn't look it, though.
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Old 10-06-2018, 03:07 AM   #6
Jim Farrell Tiler
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CX will know, he was a boy back then
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:52 AM   #7
tilemanct
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John
I was concerned you were going to say you set that tile!!
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Old 10-07-2018, 08:22 AM   #8
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My grandfather and great grandfather were tile setters. My great grandfather started setting tile during the reconstruction of Atlanta after the Civil War. I have cleaned out a few old sheds for both of them and always found interesting stuff, like the wooden crates they used to ship wall tile in. Lot of tile guys had lead pots and ladles for seaming lead pans. Used to collect the lead scrap and make toy soldiers out of them. Yeah, lot of history.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:25 AM   #9
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Dave, I'll bet my dad still has his ladle. He never gets rid of anything. I'll have to ask him about that, that'll jog his memory.

He had a set-up on top of a large propane bottle that would hold the ladle. Fascinating to watch as a kid. Of course I was right there in his way, trying to help.
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Old 10-08-2018, 10:07 AM   #10
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Connecticut Dave,

Some time ago. I told a lady she was too young for me. She was in her thirties; I was pushing 70. She told me get over it. Age is all in your head. I'm still trying to get over it.

I was a kid when they were using wood boxes . . . and shipping mosaic tiles in kegs. The weren't on sheets!

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Old 10-09-2018, 02:16 PM   #11
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Although I'm a young pup compared to John and Dave, I have to agree with Dave that those are likely the press it was pressed on (the number) and the location in the die (the dot in the rectangle). When I worked at American Olean tile back in the 90's, we still had some of the 'head knocker' manual presses that would have been used to make those tiles. They would have pressed 6 or 9 tiles of that size at a time. To trouble shoot any size issues requires knowing the press number and die location. When I started the mosaic factory for Florida Tile 20 years ago, we used a similar concept on the backs of our tiles.
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