The Tile Works is a working museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It’s one of three cast-in-place concrete structures constructed by Henry Chapman Mercer, an advocate of the Arts and Crafts movement that flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Mercer opened the factory in his hometown to recreate and promote the pottery styles and techniques Pennsylvania’s early European settlers once used. Apparently, he was a man with great pride for his native state.
His factory crafted each tile and mosaic from local red clay. Many of the works featured Pennsylvania’s flora and fauna. His creations cover the floors of the Pennsylvania State Capitol, which also houses a mosaic comprised of the largest collection of his tiles.
The Moravian Pottery & Tile Works Museum continues Mercer’s legacy after his death in 1930. Artisans create handmade tiles based on his original designs and formulas, though they’ve tweaked the contents of the glazes to make them less toxic. When the governor visited Vatican City in 2014, he gifted the pope with a set of tiles.
The factory is now a working museum. People are welcome to come tour the building, where they can purchase crafts of their own and even partake in the occasional tile or mosaic-making class.