What, how, who and when...? unearthing history at home....

18 claycraft tiles in tact ...0ne Batchelder  (Mt. Washington Ca. 2012)

When demolishing anything at an older home, there is always the hope of the antique find.
this is a score...


Claycraft Potteries, Los Angeles, CA  1921-1939


If you don’t live in California, you might not know too much about California tile manufacturers of the early 20th century. Between the turn of the century through the mid 1950’s there were many ceramic tile makers in this country whose work could be considered to be true art and is widely collected today. Of those makers, three companies stand out. California Art Tile Company: 1922-1956 manufactured in Richmond California, Claycraft Tile: 1921-1939 of Los Angeles and the most well-known Batchelder Tile Company: 1909-1932 of Pasadena. Over time with the re-sale of homes and change in cultural aesthetics, many homes that once housed these original tiles (around a fireplace, backyard fountains, bathroom, you name it) have been renovated – and much of this treasured tile has been lost or destroyed. When a house is for sale and it includes an original tile fire surround (especially Batchelder) it is  prominently featured as a desirable selling point. These days they are somewhat rare… and highly coveted.


Ernest A. Batchelder (1875–1957) was an artist and educator who made Southern California his home in the early 20th century. He is famous as a maker of art tiles and as a leader in the American Arts and Crafts Movement.
Batchelder came to Pasadena, California, in the early 1900s to teach, and became director of the art department at Throop Polytechnic Institute, the predecessor of the California Institute of Technology.
His life took a turn in 1909 when, behind his house overlooking the Arroyo Seco, he built a kiln and entered the business of creating hand-crafted art tiles. The tiles were hugely popular, and by the 1920s, Batchelder’s tiles could be found in homes and buildings across the United States. Batchelder’s prominence in Southern California's art community included his involvement in the founding of the Pasadena Art Institute and his membership in the Pasadena Society of Artists. Batchelder was also the third Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Pasadena Playhouse, to which he contributed an original tile fireplace and fountain (recently restored)