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A Brief Look at the History of Subway Tile


 Subway tile has been a staple of American architecture for many years, but its storied history and evolution are often overlooked.

History 1
The history of subway tile goes back more than 100 years, but it gained its wide popularity from the first New York Subway system, Interborough Rapid Transit Company, in the early 1900’s.

History 2

A Century of Use

In the early part of the century, subway systems were created and designed to provide public transportation for the fast growing community of New York.

History 3
In 1904, architects, George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge, designed the walls with sleek, rectangular tiles with little space in-between. Initially, this was intended to facilitate easy cleaning. It wasn’t long before their classic aesthetic made them a design staple for the subway-which still lasts today.

History 4

Wider Applications

Despite such humble beginnings, many people admired the simplicity of this tile and saw the potential for residential and expanded commercial use. Before long, variations on the original style adorned walls all over the United States.

History 5

Manhattan 4×12 Snow White
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This classic style has now transformed from the traditional 3”x6” rectangles to include additional sizes and colors. Unique patterns, textures, bevels, and splashes of color have also brought subway tile up to modern standards.

History 6

Manhattan 4×16 Turquoise
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Classic Influence

Subway tile has had a continued classic influence on design, and it now continues to be design standard regardless of the style or aesthetic.

5th Avenue 3×6 Grey Glossy
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From the classic design to the wide range of colors and sizes now available, you can achieve a timeless look with subway tile. You can view more of the options for subway tile here or call 1-(877) 529-7309 to have a Product Specialist guide you through the options.

History 8

Manhattan 4×16 Charcoal
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