Mangalore Tiles - A Charm of its own
Posted: Monday, August 25th, 2008 | Views: 15420
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Back in the history, the rural living conditions and natural habitation mandated our forefathers to utilize mud, water and baking procedures to protect their families against wind, rain and summer heat. They baked flat and curved mud tiles that helped the skilful wrapping of roofs, floors and walls in an economical way. Yes, it started with only a bare-minimum, sleek drape of the roofing though, just about making sure that rain water did not seep in or the heat didn't radiate directly.

Even as the tiles over Victoria Terminus in Mumbai stand tall proclaiming the quality of Mangalore tiles for over a 100 years now, reduction in clay deposits, labour problems and tile factories coming up in other places are said to be some of the reasons for the decline Mangalore Tile factories.

According to engineers and architects here, now the demand for the Mangalore tiles is on the increase, as people are laying these tiles over the concrete roofs for aesthetic purposes and for reduced heat transfer during summer season. Sloping roofs with muddy brown tiles still define the city's skyline even though multi-storeyed buildings and shopping malls are changing the way the Mangalore looks.

Brief History of Mangalore Tiles: A German Missionary Plebot set up the first tile factory in 1865, after he found large deposits of clay by the banks Gurupur and Nethravathi Rivers. It was called Basel Mission Tile factory and located on the banks of the river Nethravathi, around 100 meters away from Ullal Bridge. Several other tile factories came up in the years that followed. Abundant deposits of clay, plenty of firewood from the Western Ghats and cheap skilled labour helped the industry flourish. Since the tiles were made only in the city initially, they came to be called Mangalore tiles.

Most of us have grown in houses that used Mangalore tiles, reading those letters on them, which gave theri manufacturers name, abbreviated. Somewhere down the line, we switched over to the unimaginative concrete roof. Luckily, people are going back to the Mangalore tiles, though not for the whole house. Made of compressed mud and burnt under controlled conditions, these tiles are uniform in thickness and pattern. They have a nostalgic appeal, though their maintenance is an issue. The tile can be used in many creative ways you could have a clay ceiling covered with Mangalore tiles for aesthetic appeal. It is best suited for your bathroom, car portico, garden gazebo or your watchman's shed. Mangalore tile needs a neat sub-structure. A metal sub-structure is provided these days avoiding the use of wood, lest there be termite attack.

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