Our Ernest Batchelder Experience
Just a few minutes before the demo crew was to take a sledge hammer to this little sunroom of tiles, set to be remodeled, one of the men mentioned to the homeowner that maybe some of these tiles could be sold to Architectural Antiques. He remembered that they even removed items like this. The homeowner could save a few dollars on the demolition, and even get paid for the little tiles.
The people who were readying to demo the space, and bring it up to date, were just a few minutes from taking those sledge hammers to that little sunroom of tiles.
When it was all done, we salvaged over 6,000 tiles from a tile company called Batchelder. Besides the tiles, the salvage included a mantle, a 6 foot wall fountain, several wall cabinets, and assorted wall planters, all from Batchelder Tile Company.
and the Batchelder Tile Company was produced primarily in the midwest but shipped throughout the nation. As a mail order product, the consumer to choose from several 'nature' based motifs and field tile, all in Batchelder's trademark 'buff' glaze.
The Salvage Process
took several days as each tile was removed by carefully chiseling out sections of tile and removing the 80 year-old adhesive. As the tiles were removed, each portion - fireplace, window boxes, and fountain - was separately labeled and packed so the individual sections of the sunroom could be transported and reconstructed for resale.
A variety of motifs, bird and botanical as well as the classic Dutchmen with pipe can be seen on the fireplace mantel.
The six-thousand tile salvage was quickly sold to a collector/housing developer in New Jersey. The customer/conniseur was familar with Batchelder, but had not come across such a large variety of tiles in one salvage, including the lovely detailed motifs. The sunroom and it's valuable collection represented many opportunities for reuse and new life to a highly sought after collection of American Arts and Crafts tile.
"The importance of Ernest Batchelder as an Arts and Crafts tilemaker cannot be overstated." --Joseph A. Taylor, Tile Heritage Foundation
During the height of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Batchelder the art teacher (before he began his little tile company) came to Minneapolis to organized the Handicraft Guild in Minneapolis, where he taught summer courses. He published two books during his teaching career, "Design Theory and Practice" in 1909 & "The Principles of Design" in 1911.