A Little Subway Tile History Lesson

A Little Subway Tile History Lesson


Here's a little history lesson on subway tile. The first subway tile was made in New York in 1904 for, you guessed, the NYC subway system! The concept of subway tile was developed by architects George C. Heins and Christopher Grant la Farge as a way to make the new form of urban travel attractive and easy-to-clean. The white 3”x 6” tiles that they chose became so popular that people started installing them in their homes in the 1920’s and are still a popular choice today. Read on to see some of our favorite and diverse forms of Subway Tiles.

The beauty of Subway Tile lies not only in its urban transport-inspired design but also in its flexibility. From square 6”x6” tiles to oblong 3”x12” tiles, we have a range of dimensions with which to dream, play and create!

Subway Tile Sizes
Subway Tile Collection.
Small Squares & Bricks Collection.

1. Brighten Up Your Space

Although white subway tile is a staple for a reason, we love it when people play around with our diverse color palette. These dreamy sky blue 3x8’s are an exquisite example of creating a distinctive space using color to set the tone. What color sparks joy for you?

For more ways to brighten up your space, visit our blog "7 Projects That Prove a Little Til Goes a Long Way"

Blue Subway Tile Shower Backsplash3″x8″ Subway Tile – 12W Blue Bell
Photography by Marissa Cramer

2. Stack it Up!

Subway Tile is most often arranged in the staggered pattern, with the 3x6’s overlapping each other creating twice the amount of grout lines. Here we have a great example of a stacked installation using only our Old Copper glaze which has tons of variation. The installer took great care situating the variation so that the design looks textural. The clean stacked lines work well with a tall ceiling, drawing the eye upward.

For more stacked subway tile projects, visit our blog "Stacked Subway Tile: 6 Ways to Rock the Look"

Old Copper Stacked Subway Tile3"x6" Subway Tile - 913 Old Copper 

3. Do Be a Square

Traditionally, Subway Tile is considered to be oblong, but over the course of time that has changed to now include square tile. Square Subway tile offers a fresh take on a classic shape, you can stack it, stagger it, or even tilt the tile diagonally for a unique diamond look.

For more Subway Tile layout ideas, visit our blog "6 Creative Subway Tile Designs for Your Home"

4"x4" Subway Tile - 22E Blue Opal4”x4” Subway Tile - 22E Blue Opal

4. Pushing the Boundaries

Here at Mercury Mosaics we are constantly trying to push our creativity into making the most exciting and beautiful tile imaginable. We strive to create designs that will stand the test of time, while inspiring your everyday. Pairing classic standards like Subway Tile with our Medium Diamonds is one of our most successful and popular examples of doing just that.

For more inspirational tile designs, visit our blog "Trendy Tile Designs Inspired by One Custom Backsplash"

Custom Cut Subway Tile and Diamond Backsplash2”x6” - 130 White. Medium Diamonds - 130 White, 77E Grey, 60 Silver Lining, 815W Light Grey, 155 Steel, 912W Cloudy Sky, 366 Satin Black, 613 Black 2"x6" Subway Tile - 130 White.  

Order tile samples to see, touch, and fall in love with our handmade tiles in person. We would also love to hear what inspires you! Tell us more about your future project and get the ball rolling

The post A Little Subway Tile History Lesson appeared first on Artisan Tile Company: Handmade Ceramic Tiles by Mercury Mosaics.

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