Cement Encaustic Decorative Tile


Thank you to https://www.doaks.org/research/library-archives/dumbarton-oaks-archives/historical-records/from-the-archives/unexpected-finds for the information on these tiles.

Cement encaustic tile (carreaux de ciment comprimé) marked B & W on back; 5 7/8" square and 5/8" thick; Exact age is unknown but I'd venture a guess that this tile dates to the late 1800s-1920s. Discovered at the marché aux puces in Vanves in Paris.

I have another similar styled tile for sale in my shop, and it's marked Mosaïques Maubeuge on the back. I've not been able to find French tile makers by the name of B & W, but I did find a company in California by the same name that has been in business since 1949. Both of the tiles for sale were purchased from the same vendor at the Vanves marché aux puces, and since they're so similar, I would hazard a guess that this tile is French as well and not from the California manufacturer.

Doaks.org writes: Manufactured by hand, cement tiles used different colored cements instead of the clay used in ceramic tiles. The colored cement pastes – made of oxide pigments, white cement, marble powder, and water – were poured to a depth of one-eighth inch into the patterned sections of a metal mold (moule de cloissoné, in French) that had been inserted into a wooden or metal frame. When the mold was carefully removed, the colored cement pastes fused, producing the tile’s pattern. The remainder of the frame was then filled with cement as a backing. The completed tile was subjected to pressure by either a hand or hydraulic press, and after setting, the tile was removed from the frame and dried slowly for several weeks in a carefully maintained humid environment.

Please note wear to the tile, particularly in the form of small chips around the edges of the face of the tile (photo 1 and photos 7 through 10) as well as the actual edges, the latter of which are shown in photos 3 through 6. Also, pleased note the raised line in the upper right hand corner in photo 7. This thin line is approximately 1/2" in length. Do let me know if you would like more photos as I'll be happy to oblige.

Thank you for looking.


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