Some say the original technique was developed in 18th century in Italy using natural colors of granite and marble dust and cement. According to one website, “the encaustic cement tile appeared at the end of the XIX century, in the south of France. Several sources say the first encaustic tiles were made in France near the country’s first Portland cement plant. Until the 1920’s, they were considered as high-end ultimate flooring that decorated the palaces of the Tsar, the mansions of the Côte d’Azure, Gaudi’s Barcelona and Berlin’s official buildings. Later on, the encaustic cement tile expanded as a creative and durable coating all over Europe, and the French, Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Around the 50’s the Mosaic Hydralico lost importance and was replaced by less labor intensive, and less colorful floors. At the beginning of the XXI century, the trend for authentic products has brought back into fashion the encaustic cement tile.
It has never been possible to create an industrialized product that can substitute this handmade tile. The variety of colors, the matt finish and the soft silky texture are characteristics that make this tile absolutely unique. It is very important to note that no two tiles are exactly alike.