Tile

Mission, or barrel, roof tiles

A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game).

Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired.


Roof tiles

Fancy Japanese roof tiles The largest (6000 m²)
wooden shingle roof
in Europe: Zakopane, Poland

Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze.

Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. These include:

  • Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. This profile is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells.
  • Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking.
  • Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field.
  • Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a log and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles.

Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below.

There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles.

Floor tiles

6"x6" porcelain floor tiles

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used.

See Laying tile

Wall tiles

Tilework on the wall of the Bond Street tube station

While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available.

Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout.

Decorative tilework

Ancient mosaic in the British Museum. Typical tilework on buildings in Santarém, Portugal.

Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period.

Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today.

In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. Batchelder.

Islamic tilework

Tilework of Hazrat Masoumeh shrine, Qom. First constructed in the late 8th century.

Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.

The mathematics of tiling

Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page.

History of tiles

Tiles were developed as a product of earthenware pottery, either as an alternative use for fragments of broken pottery (called potsherds) or as an independent invention. Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures.


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Tiles have been used in construction for at least 4000 years, by the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Phoenicians and many other cultures. In this system, the material that constitutes the money itself had very little intrinsic value, but none the less such money achieves significant market value through being scarce as an artifact. Tiles were developed as a product of earthenware pottery, either as an alternative use for fragments of broken pottery (called potsherds) or as an independent invention. The system of commodity money in many instances evolved into a system of representative money. For detailed information on tilings see the tessellation page. Ancient Sparta minted coins from iron to discourage its citizens from engaging in foreign trade. These shapes are said to tessellate (from the Latin tessera, 'tile'). Numismatists have examples of coins from the earliest large-scale societies, although these were initially unmarked lumps of precious metal[2].

Certain shapes of tiles, most obviously rectangles, can be replicated to cover a surface with no gaps. This first stage of currency, where metals were used to represent stored value, and symbols to represent commodities, formed the basis of trade in the Fertile Crescent for over 1500 years. As both the influence and the extent of Islam spread during the Middle Ages this artistic tradition was carried along, finding expression from the gardens and courtyards of Málaga in Moorish Spain to the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Currency was introduced as a standardized money to facilitate a wider exchange of goods and services. Palaces, public buildings, and mosques were heavily decorated with dense, often massive mosaics and friezes of astonishing complexity. [1]. Perhaps because of the tenets of Moslem law (sharia) which disavow religious icons and images in favor of more abstract and universal representations of the divine, many consider decorative tilework to have reached a pinnacle of expression and detail during the Islamic period. In Mexico under Montezuma cocoa beans were money.

Batchelder. In medieval Iraq, bread was used as an early form of money. Prominent among art tile makers during this period was Ernest A. This is called commodity money and includes any commonly-available commodity that has intrinsic value; historical examples include pigs, rare seashells, whale's teeth, and (often) cattle. In the United States, decorative tiles were in vogue, especially in southern California, in the 1920s and 1930s. The first instances of money were objects with intrinsic value. Some places, notably Portugal, have a tradition of tilework on buildings that continues today. Main article: History of money.

Although decorative tilework was known and extensively practiced in the ancient world (as evidenced in the magnificent mosaics of Pompeii and Herculaneum), it perhaps reached its greatest expression during the Islamic period. Free trade advanced further in the late 20th century and early 2000s:. Decorative tilework typically takes the form of mosaic upon the walls, floor, or ceiling of a building. In 1947, 23 countries agreed to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to promote free trade. Finally, a cloth is rubbed over the wall tile to remove any haze which may remain from residual grout. These organizations became operational in 1946 after enough countries ratified the agreement. The sponging provides added moisture to strengthen the grout as it cures. It set up rules and institutions to regulate the international political economy: the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (later divided into the World Bank and Bank for International Settlements).

The excess grout is scraped off with a hard rubber block called a float immediately after applying; further, the grout is wiped again with a moist sponge before it completely hardens. During the war, in 1944, 44 countries signed the Bretton Woods Agreement, intended to prevent national trade barriers, to avoid depressions. The spaces between the tiles are filled with a fine cement called unsanded grout. The lack of free trade was considered by many as a principal cause of the depression, and World War II. Modern wall tiles are fixed to a wall using a synthetic bonding agent tile adhesive for dry areas, or a cement-based mortar for areas prone to moisture, such as bath or shower walls. During this period, there was a great drop in trade and other economic indicators. Pictorial tiles, consisting of many tiles that the installer assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to form a single large picture, are available. The Great Depression was a major economic recession that ran from 1929 to 1941.

Wall tiles are usually glazed, and are often patterned by painting or embossing. This became the policy in many countries attempting to industrialize and out-compete English exporters. These are usually ceramic, but other materials such as mirrored glass or polished metal can be used. This was followed within a few years by the infant industry scenario developed by Mill anticipated New Trade Theory by promoting the theory that government had the "duty" to protect young industries, although only for a time necessary for them to develop full capacity. While ancient Roman building bricks were broader and thinner than modern ones and are therefore usually called tiles, the term wall tile is normally applied to finishing tiles. This was taken as evidence against the universal doctrine of free trade, as it was believed that more of the economic surplus of trade would accrue to a country following reciprocal, rather than completely free, trade policies. See Laying tile
. Ricardo and others had suggested this earlier.

The spaces between the tiles are nowadays filled with sanded or unsanded floor grout, but traditionally mortar was used. John Stuart Mill proved that a country with monopoly pricing power on the international market could manipulate the terms of trade through maintaining tariffs, and that the response to this might be reciprocity in trade policy. Floor tiles are typically set into mortar consisting of sand, cement and oftentimes a latex additive for extra strength. That is, the calculation made was whether it was in any particular country's self-interest to open its borders to imports. Small mosaic tiles may be laid in various patterns. The ascendancy of free trade was primarily based on national advantage in the mid 19th century. Clay tiles may be painted and glazed. In Principles of Political Economy and Taxation Ricardo advanced the doctrine still considered the most counterintuitive in economics:.

These are commonly made of ceramic, clay, porcelain or stone. In 1817, David Ricardo, James Mill and Robert Torrens showed that free trade might benefit the industrially weak as well as the strong, in the famous theory of comparative advantage. They include ridge, hip and valley tiles. In 1799, the Dutch East India Company, formerly the world's largest company, became bankrupt, partly due to the rise of competitive free trade. There are also roof tiles for special positions, particularly where the planes of the several pitches meet. Smith said that he considered all rationalizations of import and export controls "dupery", which hurt the trading nation at the expense of specific industries. The tiles are usually hung in parallel rows, with each row overlapping the row below it to exclude rainwater and to cover the nails that hold the row below. Since the division of labour was restricted by the size of the market, he said that countries having access to larger markets would be able to divide labour more efficiently and thereby become more productive.

Roof tiles are 'hung' from the framework of a roof by fixing them with nails. It criticised Mercantilism, and argued that economic specialization could benefit nations just as much as firms. These include:. In 1776, Adam Smith published the paper An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Because of their long history, a large number of shapes (or "profiles") of roof tiles have evolved. Trade in the East Indies was dominated by Portugal in the 16th century, the Netherlands in the 17th century, and the British in the 18th century. Some clay tiles have a waterproof glaze. In the 16th century, Holland was the centre of free trade, imposing no exchange controls, and advocating the free movement of goods.

Modern materials such as concrete and plastic are also used. Spices brought to Europe from distant lands were some of the most valuable commodities for their weight, sometimes rivaling gold. Roof tiles are designed mainly to keep out rain, and are traditionally made from locally available materials such as clay, slate, or wood (wooden tiles are called shingles). The spice trade was of major economic importance and helped spur the Age of Exploration. . Vasco da Gama started the Spice trade in 1498.
. The Hanseatic League was an alliance of trading cities that maintained a trade monopoly over most of Northern Europe and the Baltic, between the 13th and 17th centuries.

Tiles are most often made from ceramic, with a hard glaze finish, but other materials are also commonly used, such as glass, slate, and reformed ceramic slurry, which is cast in a mould and fired. Vikings sailed to Western Europe, while Varangians to Russia. Tiles are often used to form wall and floor coverings, and can range from simple square tiles to complex mosaics. From the 8th to the 11th century, the Vikings and Varangians traded as they sailed from and to Scandinavia. Less precisely, the modern term can refer to any sort of construction tile or similar object, such as rectangular counters used in playing games (see tile-based game). For instance, Radhanites were a medieval guild or group (the precise meaning of the word is lost to history) of Jewish merchants who traded between the Christians in Europe and the Muslims of the Near East. The word is derived from the French word tuile, which is, in turn, from the Latin word tegula, meaning a roof tile composed of baked clay. Nevertheless some trade did occur.

Tiles are generally used for covering roofs, floors, and walls, or other objects such as tabletops. The fall of the Roman empire, and the succeeding Dark Ages brought instability to Western Europe and a near collapse of the trade network. A tile is a manufactured piece of hard-wearing material such as ceramic, clay, stone, porcelain or even glass. Their widespread empire produced a stable and secure transportation network that enabled the shipment of trade goods without fear of significant piracy. Mission or barrel tiles are semi-cylindrical tiles made by forming clay around a log and laid in alternating columns of convex and concave tiles. Roman commerce allowed their empire to flourish and endure. These result in a ridged pattern resembling a ploughed field. From the beginning of Greek civilization until the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century, a financially lucrative trade brought valuable spice to Europe from the far east, including China.

Pantiles - with an S-shaped profile, allowing adjacent tiles to interlock. For this purpose they established trade colonies the Greeks called emporia. Roman tiles - flat in the middle, with a concave curve at one end at a convex curve at the other, to allow interlocking. The Phoenicians were noted sea traders, travelling across the Mediterranean Sea, and as far north as Britain for sources of tin to manufacture bronze. This profile is suitable for stone and wooden tiles, and most recently, solar cells. Long-range trade routes first appeared in the 3rd millennium BCE, when Sumerians in Mesopotamia traded with the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. Flat tiles - the simplest type, which are laid in regular overlapping rows. Materials used for creating jewelry were traded with Egypt since 3000 BCE.

There is evidence of the exchange of obsidian and flint during the stone age. Trade is believed to have taken place throughout much of recorded human history. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.[1]. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other.

Trade originated with the start of communication in prehistoric time. . As such, trade at market prices between locations benefits both locations. Trade exists between regions because different regions have a comparative advantage in the production of some tradable commodity, or because different regions' size allows for the benefits of mass production.

Due to specialization and division of labor, most people concentrate on a small aspect of production, trading for other products. Trade exists for many reasons. Trade between two traders is called bilateral trade, while trade between more than two traders is called multilateral trade. The invention of money (and later credit, paper money and non-physical money) greatly simplified and promoted trade.

As a result, buying can be separated from selling, or earning. Modern traders instead generally negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and services. A mechanism that allows trade is called a market.

Trade is also called commerce. Trade is the voluntary exchange of goods, services, or both. As of mid-2005, there is a proposal for a Central American Free Trade Agreement, which would also include the United States and the Dominican Republic. January 1, 1995 World Trade Organization was created to facilitate free trade, by mandating mutual most favoured nation trading status between all signatories.

1994 The GATT Marrakech Agreement specified formation of the WTO. January 1, 1994 NAFTA took effect. 1992 European Union lifted barriers to internal trade in goods and labour.

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