Vintage Veos steel tiles with porcelain ceramic finish

vintage ceramic tileWe’ve written extensively about 1950s bathroom tile — ceramic tile, plastic tile, and even Sani Onyx, glass-like tile made from fused rock. But here’s a vintage variety in our spotlight for the first time: Porcelain-enameled steel wall tiles. Yes, every now and then we see steel tiles — but this is a particularly big stash, plus, we have marketing materials to illustrate.

vintage ceramic tile

These Veos tiles currently for sale on ebay were found in their original boxes. Veos Tile was made in Rehoboth, Massachussets.

vintage Veos Tile brochureI tried searching for more information about Veos tile, and I was also able to find this vintage Veos Tile brochure, for sale on Amazon. Looks like Veos was owned by Clyde Porcelain Steel Corp. of Clyde, Ohio.

vintage Veos Tile brochureThe vintage brochure — likely from the 1940s — shows several installations of Veos porcelain enamel steel tile and touts the tile’s strength, durability and light weight:

Weighs only 3.5 lbs. per square foot installed as against 16 to 18 lbs. for clay-bodied tile.

vintage Veos Tile brochureIt also includes a list of colors — though grey is not one of them — and touts:

“No Extra Charge for Color — In all sizes and shapes, Veos colored tile is price the same as black or white.”

vintage Veos Tile brochureTiles made of steel? Why not? We had 70 plus brands of factory-painted steel kitchen cabinets. AND we had Lustrons!

vintage ceramic tile vintage ceramic tileThe tiles look pretty darn nice!

Mega thanks to ebay seller thebombshelter1 and Amazon seller The Jumping Frog for allowing us to feature their photos in our happily ever after archives.

Anyone out there have porcelained steel tiles?

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Comments

  1. Robin, NV says

    I love the picture of the barber shop in the promotional material. Green side for the gents, pink side for the ladies presumably. Too cute! I love how they blended the green and pink tile in the doorway between the two areas.

  2. Leila says

    When I was little, we had a pink and black bathroom. Well, I was cleaning out the attic last summer and found half a box containing some of these original, unused porcelain on steel tiles from the 1950’s. They are peach colored. I have pictures of me as a baby in this pink bathroom. I had never even heard of porcelain tiles before. Thanks for all the background. I’m not sure what to do with them, since there are only about 50 tiles.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      Someone can use them for a backsplash in the kitchen! Fifty is plenty for that, up to 16 feet of three tiles deep, right?

  3. Barb S. says

    The Bomb Shelter is the tile seller on eBay. It’s not far from me, down in Akron. Anyone in the area should stop in. There are generations of goods in that store and it’s HUGE. When you first walk in, there are giant Tiki statues. Like 6 or 8 feet tall. I think a local artist makes them, but when Pam and Kate had their big Tiki summer, I couldn’t find anything about them. You can see one on the cover page of their website.

    Well worth a drive, and this guy is there too:

    https://www.facebook.com/207632779259770/photos/a.476870362336009.102701.207632779259770/476870375669341/?type=3&theater

  4. Scott says

    Beautiful, functional, and sanitary. Like Lustron, White Castle restaurants used prefabricated porcelain as exterior treatment too. In fact the headquarters building is right here in Columbus and is the most beautiful shade of turquoise you can imagine.

  5. Mary Elizabeth says

    It seems to me this was an idea that came from the “turning swords into plowshares” post-war economy. Manufacturer: “What are we going to do with all this equipment for rolling steel for ships, subs, and tanks?” Idea person (maybe his wife): “Why, we could make kitchen cabinets and even tile!”

  6. Lauren says

    Just last week I uncovered a backsplash of these (a light blue) from behind the laminate in our kitchen (1955). They are super light! I was really surprised by that and didn’t realize that they were metal until I started removing. They have caulk and such on them and a few are slightly bent. Do you think they are worth saving? We don’t have the time to reuse them–plus they only cover one wall.

    Your blog has inspired our remodel in many ways even though we are not using of some of the original bits. I have been making an effort to pass on some of the pieces to your enthusiastic kindred spirits here in Ohio, which helps me from feeling so guilty. We are dealing with termite damage which makes it a whole house remodel and does not leave time for too many slow details. Thanks for the great articles and inspiration!

  7. Bill, Windsor CT says

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned, but “VEOS” isn’t a very catchy product name…unless it has some relevant meaning. Could it, by any chance, stand for “Vitreous Enamel On Steel”?

    This is from Wikipedia: “Vitreous enamel, also called porcelain enamel, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing…The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal…The term “enamel” is most often restricted to work on metal…”

  8. Shae says

    Heck yeah on the vitreous enamel! I am a metal worker who enamels steel and I would bet that is exactly what these are- vitreous enamel on steel! You can torch fire or, in this case, fire in a kiln! I bet they didn’t even have to change their glaze recipes all that much 🙂

  9. says

    anyone have ideas on how to install these as a backsplash? Pam got me hooked on these doggone it! the guy at Bomb Shelter said they are concave on the back…so I’m pretty sure standard grouting won’t cut it.

    I think this IS my backsplash solution in my 1927 Craftsman!

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      The ideal would be if you asked the seller if any of the boxes have installation instructions. NOS Plastic tile boxes often do.

      A quick search on Google got me several hits on how to install steel tile, some with video. In one video, they used a strong construction adhesive. Apparently, the tile is still sold today in a stainless finish for backsplashes.

      Also, look into a product called Bondera, a kind of two-sided adhesive strip that we used to stick ceramic tiles to an old laminate backsplash. It may be indicated for steel tile as well, but you will have to check with the manufacturer.

    • Lauren says

      The ones I just removed had something that looked a lot like typical tile adhesive, often filling the back of the tile. It looked like it was troweled on but thicker than normal. The metal edges are very thin so I would guess that you need something that can glob on to fill the gap behind the tile in at least some places.

  10. Pete Menio says

    I renovated a bathroom with this type tile about 3 years ago. The tiles were applied to a black fibrous underlayment similar to the old exterior house sheathing. To compensate for the concave backs of the tiles, the underlayment was grooved to accept the tiles. This construction allowed the tiles to lay in the grooves with the backs contacting the underlayment. It appeared that a standard mastic was used. They are really nice tiles with a very mellow pastel color. I was able to salvage about 450 green and yellow tiles including probably 20’ of bull nose.
    Hope this helps.

  11. Steve-Dog says

    I’m restoring my 1930’s bathroom and I need to find a source for the old 5×5 plain aluminum wall tiles. They have a slight rolled edge to simulate the rolled edge of ceramic tile. I need 24 tiles in pink but would be delighted to find these tiles in any color and I’ll paint them to match the existing pint tiles. Thanks, and love your website – a real inspiration for our renovation projects!
    Steve-Dog

  12. lee says

    I currently live in a 1930s house that has enamel on steel tile floor to ceiling in the bathroom.
    Pete Menios comment explains the backer board exactly.
    A poor “repair” around the tub faucets, and bad caulk job were letting water in and the fiberous backer was disintegrating.
    My solution was to put up a tub surround. But I am going to try the spray on tub refinish product for the rest as it won’t get the water contack like the shower. I won’t mind the refi fish being bright white… It will be much better than the PINK floor to ceiling tile currently glaring at me…
    I have salvaged tiles I am going to try to sell, somewhere.

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