W

World of Tile vintage tiles — salvaged and available for sale


Oh, World of Tile, I still miss you so. But yowza, you can still get some: Last week I spotted a hard-working entrepreneur who bought an impressive stash of vintage tile the World of Tile liquidation sale, then organized and loaded them up online for sale. Many of these lots come in sufficient square footage to complete a project. And, I think the prices are very fair. 

This eBay seller also has an online shop, VintageTileShop.com. Here’s some vintage tile from her shop installed. Yum.

I spotted the seller, tito804 on eBay (affiliate link). In our email exchange, she told me that she had “a very interesting five days trying to haul and save as much as I could from World of Tile.”

One of my mementos — found hidden in a stack of paperwork. Story here

Golly, didn’t we all: Scouring that sale was one — actually four days’ worth — of the most memorable and awesome-in-the-true-sense-of-the-word adventures I’ve ever had.

Dig this mod pink and gray wall tile — 187 s.f. currently available.

This seller also has other tiles to sell. They were taken “a huge amount of dead stock tile from the 40s-70s that I had painstakingly organized to sell,” she said. These include the pink and gray beauties above and the yellow and white beauties below. I have resisted using this common metaphor to date, but now I must: Tile porn!

Dimensional wall tile — 209 s.f. currently available.

Note, dear readers, remember to be aware: Vintage materials can contain hazards — such as lead in vintage (and possibly, new) ceramics — so be sure to assess what you are dealing with; consult with your own professionals. For more info see my Be Safe/Renovate Safe page.

Where to shop for this vintage tile:

CategoriesBathroom Tile
  1. ineffablespace says:

    It works for me, too.

    New old stock and dead stock is an interesting thing. I think it’s great when new old stock is available (and I bought both vintage light fixtures and a Thibaut scenic after being directed to the NOS by your website.)

    But new old stock/dead stock originates in two general ways. The first is items that are very common that for some reason got left over. Standard sorts of things like the Hall-Mack soap dishes, and Progress lighting fixtures. Someone overbought, or a building phase ended in the area and a distributor or retailer is left with stock that normally sold. An owner dies or retires and for some reason the stock is not liquidated at that time, and eventually it’s vintage.

    But there is another way that dead stock develops, and that’s because hardly anyone buys it. And in some cases, as in World of Tile no one buys it even when it is available for the asking all along for decades. In the first case, something happens where the stock gets warehoused and people may even forget it’s there. In the second case, it’s there in sight, but it still sits. Bits and pieces may go to people who need to do repairs and need a match, but maybe hundreds of square feet sit.

    Eventually it becomes interesting or a curiosity because it’s old and it’s unique. But I am not sure that it is particularly representative. It’s sort of a false design history, or a design rarity because it was not particularly popular in the first place and may really be nothing more than a series of miscalculations first by the designer and manufacturer and then by the buyer for the retailer.

    Every few years someone rediscovers some stores in my area that have upholstery fabrics that are 50 and 60 years old. Rooms of bolts of it. One of my design instructors revisited after one of these articles was written and he said “That was stuff that survived because no one wanted to use it when it was new: something was “off” the colorway, or the durability in use, or something.”
    We used to get into similar discussions about furniture that ended up in museums. It’s interesting and it survived, but it may have been a rarity to begin with, it’s not something that necessarily survived because it was common.

    So I think tile like this is interesting and fun and unique, but because it’s unique it may not even be as “realistic” in recreating a bath as using Daltile or B &W in the appropriate color, unless the rest of the existing house is equally atypical in the original finish choices and you have actual evidence of that.

  2. Pam Kueber says:

    Did you go to the World of Tile liquidation sale? It included much that was VERY representative of certain eras — including pastel 50s and 60s and for sure: 70s extravaganza tile!

  3. ineffablespace says:

    Well sure, I think a place the size of World of Tile would have lots of leftovers of things that were very popular as well as less popular.

    Think of all the retailers who were left with pink and powder blue they ordered in 1965 when Harvest Gold and Avocado hit the market in 1967.

    It’s just that not all old stock is going to be representative of something found in a midcentury modest bathroom of a typical house. It may have really only been seen, rarely, in more customized houses. It’s just something to think about if you are redoing a bathroom and want it to “fit”. A seventies raised ranch wasn’t going to have Orange penny round from France in it’s original bathroom. If anything you would see that in a Victorian house remodeled in the 1970s by someone who wanted to be trendy.

    It’s something that people get wrong, and I’m sure we’ve all seen it. A TV show or movie that has the most ordinary characters walking around like they had their hair done by Vidal Sassoon, and dress in Courreges dresses and go-go boots, and their houses are completely current to the year. It just wasn’t that way. This is one of the things that Madmen got right. Even in Manhattan and Westchester, etc., the movers and shakers did not follow every trend immediately.

  4. Jay says:

    Good point except WOT was not just a supply house but a showroom that owing to the owners desire, excelled at showcasing a range of tile imported from other countries. Although not middle America and more high end they are still age appropriate if someone buys a house and wants to return a bathroom to an earlier era.
    Enough vintage homes have been featured on this site with original quirky or dramatic tile that these styles and colors don’t seem to be so off the wall.

  5. Jay says:

    Pam, I suppose there’s a 12 step program somewhere for you and the rest of us who are addicted to tile p***.

  6. Ingrid says:

    Thank you Pam for featuring my site! I enjoy every bit of selling vintage tiles. I wish I’d had 10 more days to rescue tile from World of Tile. That was a beautiful time capsule of design. Thanks for sharing it with all of us on here, you brought it back to life again before it closed and that was really wonderful.

  7. Kathy says:

    A lot of drool-worthy stuff on her website. I didn’t know that Japanese, Swedish and Italian tile was so beautiful.

    I agree that we tend to pick and choose the more memorable and iconic phases of period design, and that actual homes of any period were probably far more ordinary, mismatched and “low end.” And I do think it is possible to go overboard with the gewgaws for a modest house, and overlook the virtues of the ordinary and commonplace.

    However, I also think it is OK to have fun with your decor and spring for some “woddities” if that is what speaks to you. However it takes research, time, care and a sense of proportion to make it all come together and look inevitable, like every piece fits just so. Less is more, but so is more is more–and both can be just right.

    Most people’s homes (including mine) are works in progress and are far from perfect. It may be wise to be cautious in hard finishes, such as tile, but I admire those who go for the gusto and are able to carry it off. 🙂

  8. Chris says:

    I actually came across this by trying to find a place to sell a bunch of vintage tiles I picked from an old out building here in SC. One of the original owners was a tile salesman and they had been sitting on a shelf since then. They are unused and I have a bunch of colors and shapes. I am having a real difficulty finding someone to buy them, other than selling them on ebay, though I would rather sell them all at once at a discount from what they are worth. Can anyone help direct me to a place that may purchase them? Or a better way to find somewhere?

Leave a Reply

Commenting: Information

All comments are moderated, generally within 24 hours. By using this website you are agreeing to the site's >> Terms of Service, << which include commenting policies, and our >> Privacy Notice. << Before participating, read them in full.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.