Evolution of tiles
The use of the first clay tiles has a very old history, about seven to eight thousand years ago. Some analysis found that the usage of wall and floor tiles was traced back to as far as the fourth millennium (4000 BC) in Egypt. In those days, tiles were used in Egypt to decorate various houses. Clay bricks were dried beneath the sun or baked, and the first glazes were blue in colour and were made from copper, very exquisite!
During that period, ceramics were also known to be found in Mesopotamia. Later on, in China, the great centre of ceramic art, a fine, white stoneware with the earliest Chinese glaze was produced during the Shang-Yin dynasty (1523-1028 BC). The usage and the art of making and decorating ceramic tiles had spread and by 900 AD, decorative tiles had become widely used in Persia, Syria, Turkey and across North Africa.
As transport and communication systems developed, tile usage and its penetration in other territories increased. Wars and territory take-over caused this art to spread even faster. The Romans introduced tile making in Western Europe as they occupied territories. Northern Europe also had acquired the technology from Persia.
By the end of the 12th century, the use and manufacture of ceramic tiles had spread across Italy and Spain and into the rest of Europe. Till that time, they were mainly used to decorate the floors of Cathedrals and Churches. Through the centuries, tile decoration was improved upon, as were methods of tile manufacture.
In those early days, tiles were hand-made. Each tile was hand-formed and hand-painted, and thus, each was a work of art in its own right. Today ceramic tiles throughout the world are produced automatically. They are used in an almost infinite number of ways and people do not have to be wealthy to own them. In commercial buildings, where both beauty and durability are in consideration, ceramic tiles will be found, particularly in lobby areas and restrooms.
A major change that took over the ceramic tiles industry was the introduction of vitrified and porcelain tiles. Now, ceramic products have expanded to tableware and sanitary ware. Bangladesh, being a third world country, cannot keep itself out of its usage. Now it has spread to all over the country -- from the capital city to district and thana level homes. Affluent residents at villages have also started using the product to decorate their houses. Every year, new producers are coming into the market to grab market share.