Franklin Tile Company and American Olean decorative tile sets

American-Olean-deco-tiles-birdsThe vintage pink and maroon tile in Naomi’s pink bathroom sure was beautiful, but my eyes really got to poppin’ when I spied those decorative bird tiles dotting the tub surround. I knew right away to ask Bungalow Bill if he could identify them, and fast as a whip, he did.


The tiles, he said, are by American Olean — their Water Bird Series. Since Naomi’s tiles are all red, pink and white, it seems pretty clear that you could order the available series’ in a number of color ways.

 He had a 1950 catalog that showed them. He scanned the relevant pages, sent the scans over, and wrote:

This catalog dates to 1950.

The Franklin Tile Company merged with the American Encaustic Tile Company in the late 1930’s and eventually became American Olean. Designs from each company continued to be in production and can be found with different marks depending on what year it was made.

Some links in case you’d like to use pics of any real tiles in your post:

decorative tile[Here are links on Bungalow Bill’s site to tiles he has available for sales from this vintage American Olean/Franklin series]:

Franklin Goose tile

Multi-color angel fish

Pink angel fish on lavender tile

The Proposal – colonial silhouette tile, above

9-tile flower basket, American Encaustic Tile Co.

Here are all the pages that Bungalow Bill sent, so you can see the complete variety of series’:





 Thank you, Bill — as usual, your instantaneous knowledge of vintage bathroom tile comes to the rescue!

  1. Denise Shelton says:

    We had some of those colonial silhouette tiles worked into the backsplash behind. the stove top in our kitchen. I think they were aqua on cream. Brings back memories! The remodel that accompanied them was around 1960.

  2. Melissa says:

    I have stumbled upon multiple boxes of what I have now figured out is American Olean tile retro/vintage. From what I can piece together, the person I got it from once worked for this company in Pennsylvania and when she moved to Iowa she brought several boxes with her. She made trivets from lots of it and I have some of those as well, but have odds and ends of several different patterns and in different color combinations. Also have a few of the decorative tiles you are talking about here and a couple from what I can see are the templates before they were painted as they match the fish but are not painted or glazed. Any ideas of what to do with them?? I purchased them as a memento of the lady and because I thought they were cool, but am now finding out they are a little more important than that. I don’t want to get rid of all of them, but as I have probably a couple hundred, I don’t need that many.

  3. Susan Beno says:

    Terrific!! I have been searching online for the maker of some tiles we have in one of our bathrooms. While our house was built in 1909, the original bathroom was remodeled in the 50’s. We have a combination of Cambridge plain tiles and what I now know are American Olean decorative tiles interspersed. Ours are from the Water Bird and Nature Series. We are doing a remodel and want to spare as many as we can, but we will need a few of them. Hopefully, we can find some. Any leads besides Bungalow Bill? I have just now contacted him.

    1. pam kueber says:

      No – you must find them vintage. Bungalow Bill watches for them. Chippy at World or Tile has some in-the-style-of.

  4. Vicky Shilzoiny says:

    I wonder if Olean made seagull tile? Dad’s pink bathroom has one. We LOVE it! Sadly, however, that bathroom is on it’s way out; the walls behind the tile were disintegrating from water damage. But, he is going to put the seagull back in, yay!

  5. Pam and Kate… In one of my bungalow misadventures I tiled a backsplash for our mid-century kitchen in arts and crafts tiles. Each one lovingly and individually purchased on eBay. None match. I have NEVER put pictures of it anywhere because of the deep shame. Of course I love this post and love these tiles. You both probably think “not” due to my whited out modern/modern bathrooms. But the pendulum always swings. I have a whited out bathroom due to the crazy wrong period tile in the kitchen. Which needs to go back to its midcentury roots. I will admit to it eventually and post while planning the kitchen remodel, You will laugh, you will cry.

  6. Andi says:

    I LOVE the pink flamingo tiles and really wish we could still get the 8.5-inch ones! Or any size, really. These are worthy of building a room around, and I’d love to be able to use them in my tub to shower conversion. Sigh…

  7. Janet in CT says:

    These tiles are just gorgeous! I found it so interesting that you could have them done in colors of your choice to match your other tile and then noticed that the flamingo ones were done that way. I can’t remember ever seeing any of them, ever, but they must still show up here and there. I love the “masculine” bathroom with the tiled duck scene. It can be so expensive to do a big project but sure does make a kitchen or bath!

  8. tammyCA says:

    The 4 flamingos tile would be so neat to have…a pink Florida bath with barkcloth…I’m pretty sure I have it in my inspiration notebook. I’ve also seen the water lilies in a great vintage bathroom, I think in a Romantic Homes magazine I have.
    A house we saw while we were house hunting had a pink bathroom with Cinderella’s coach in silouette, if I remember correctly, on the bathtub tiles…I wanted the house just for that. I think these homes were called Cinderellas…anyone know about them? I have such a deep desire to find what these “Storybook houses” looked like new in the ’50s and I haven’t come across anything yet. Were they influenced by the newly built Disneyland?

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