Many tile manufacturers used the same designs in their
tiles. This can cause confusion as to who made what. The best thing that one can
do is learn about the different styles of decorations and the
types of glazes that were used.
Taylor has a certain glaze type and style that helps to
identify them as the maker to certain tiles.
Tudor often is a little on the
messy side and the colors seem to run into each other, although this is not
always the case. Most Malibu and
Catalina tiles are "black line" or "dry line"
in decoration and are a little easier to identify--it also helps that there are
some good books out there on just those tile companies. Taylor has also produced
wonderful dry line tiles and there are many of them documented in the various
Norm Karlson tile books as well as the Tile Heritage 2 volume set. I would
recommend having Norm Karlsons northern and southern Ca region books as well as
the Heritage 2 volume sets--both of these book sets are very very valuable in
learning about tiles. I would also recommend Carole Coates book on Catalina
Island as a great resource in learning about Catalina tiles and pottery. You can
get info on the books here
D&M is my favorite tile company and they have a very
distinctive glaze style that is a semi matte finish. D&M also had a very
distinctive decorating style that is easy to identify once you are familiar with
their tiles. Hispano Moresque is believed to have had their tiles produced by
the D&M factory, but in all the tiles that I have seen by Hispano Moresque, the
glaze type is a little different in that it it has more of a shiny finish than
D&M. I have never seen a D&M tile that is really shiny like most Taylor tiles
are. Hispano tiles are shiny like Taylor, but they have a different decorating
style and glaze colors that helps to identify them.
There are of course tiles that are not pictured anywhere
and have characteristics that make them almost impossible to identify. This is
partly the reason that I built this site so as to help people identify their
tiles, and to create a photo archive to log new examples into as I receive photos
or I actually buy the tiles myself.
If anyone at any time has photos that they would like to
submit to the archives, please let me know. As well, if anyone can ever help
identify any tiles that I am not sure about, I would always welcome the help.
Here are some example photos of the most common pattern of
tiles that I know of: The Racetrack Design. To date, I know of at least 8 tile
companies that produced this pattern: Malibu, Taylor, Gladding McBean, Tudor,
Catalina Island Potteries, D&M, and Hispano Moresque. I am still in
the process of finding some photographs for some of the makers.