Van Briggle Tiles

There’s no denying some of the most beautiful art pottery tiles came from the Van Briggle pottery lines. From the subtle grays and blues to the riveting golds, greens and rich browns, collectors appreciate this line for its eclectic offerings and general appeal.

It’s interesting, but the company likely never manufactured these tiles until after the death of its founder, Artus Van Briggle in 1904. Every tile used at the Memorial Pottery Plant was made at the “home base” of Van Briggle, located on Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With the success of their use at the new plant, it was a natural progression that the pottery company would begin producing and selling these tiles to the general public.

The production included incorporating a dry press tile machine and the glaze used was courtesy of “waste” glaze that had been saved from other Van Briggle pottery pieces. Decorative elements included incisions along with the use of many colors. They were advertised as ideal for kitchens bathrooms and interestingly, porches. Lovely flowers adorned these tiles as well as abstracts, leaves and textures.

The Memorial Pottery plant was located in Colorado Springs, as well. It was a grand red brick building with no shortage of “A” frames (perhaps inspired by the double “A” enclosed in a square that became the Van Briggle trademark?). Easily identified by the massive twin chimneys emerging from the center of the large building, some of the most distinctive tiles of the time period emerged from this location. They continue to inspire and strike awe to this day.

Be sure to take a look at our Van Briggle Pottery offerings. You’re sure to notice the unique presentation of this remarkable line of American art pottery. And if you have your favorites, we’d love to see your photos.

Van Briggle Tile

It’s long since been established Artus Van Briggle was a big contributing factor in what’s known as the Art Nouvea movement. Those who appreciate the Van Briggle Pottery style can easily see it replicated in contemporary pottery efforts. It’s what happened following his death that some may not be aware of, however.

The production of the Van Briggle tiles did not even begin until after Artus Van Briggle’s death in 1904. Of course, the tiles used during the construction of the Memorial Pottery Plant were made by Van Briggle pottery; that said, this information was not made public until after the Memorial pottery opened.

Artus Van Briggle

These titles were created using dry-press tile machines along with leftover glaze that had first been used to glaze other pottery pieces. Interestingly, the pottery company advertised how the various tiles were created: either as hand-pressed or machine-pressed. That kind of disclosure simply isn’t found in today’s marketing and advertising efforts. Another way of distinguishing the machine from hand pressed pieces is by looking at the colors and finishes. Machine pressed tiles have a single color with a matte finish. Those that are hand pressed will be decorated with several colors and sometimes with incised designs. Speaking of marketing efforts, the company made suggestions in its advertising that the tiles would be ideal for use on one’s porch, laundry rooms, kitchens, fireplace mantles and even as wall coverings. To help further their efforts, many public buildings had (and many still do have) Van Briggle tiles installed.

These tiles were offered at the Memorial plant, which was designed by the famous architect Nicholas Van den Arend, on Uintah Street in Colorado Springs. It should be noted, too, that few of these tiles were ever marked, so discerning tile numbers can be a bit tricky, unless, of course, you stumble across one of the rare ones with incised letters and numbers.