Wednesday, May 16, 2012

History of New Orleans Blue Letter Street Tiles

 History of New Orleans Blue Letter Street Tiles  in blog see

I often get contacted about the New Orleans Street Tiles because I use the design elements in some art and some T-shirts. I also have made some similar ceramic tiles based on the orginals I sell on the web that can be used decoratively.  A lot of people want the original tiles so they can spell out their names with them in their home. Several artists do stylized paintings and signs mostly out of hardboard and acrylic. My ceramic tiles are made with a heat transfer process and are suitable for decorative purposes. The orginal old tiles used for street names are very durable. They are called ‘Encaustic tiles’. Encaustic tiles are unglazed, the design is not painted on with dyes or minerals, but dry or dust pressed from clays. Most ceramic tiles are surface decorated by painting or embossed designs created by a mold. Encaustic tiles are stronger in that their designs are inlaid and baked in the tile. The original tile company, believed to be The American Encaustic Tile Company of Ohio and New York was in operation from 1875 until 1935, closing with the depression. Several local ceramic shops make decorative tiles and hand paints letters on tile blanks the size of the originals and fires them. Most are not encaustic tiles but painted ceramic tiles that do not wear as long. There is a Spanish company that still makes similar blue lettered tiles but I do not know what company imports them now.  A lot of local New Orleans craftsman also make replicas and sell them on the web.  Ceramic shops in the area also make duplicates, those were recently used on Fontainbleu after the repairs to the street.

 Fig Street Studio sells street tiles in letters and numbers from it web based store. See links.

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