This section is from the book "A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction Vol3: Stair Building, Ornamental Ironwork, Roofing, Sheet-Metal Work, Electric-Light Wiring And Bellwork", by The Colliery Engineer Co.. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Architecture And Building Construction.
The history of tiles as a roof covering is too extended to completely review; tiles, however, deserve special mention, because they are the most desirable and the most serviceable materials used for roofing.
The earliest mention of tiles occurs perhaps in the Book of Kings, in the description of Solomon's Temple. They have been used in China from a period of such remote antiquity as 2,000 years B. C. Whether the manufacture of roofing tiles was carried from China to India and Persia, and thence to Egypt, Phoenicia, and Assyria, or whether it was a native and spontaneous product of these peoples, who were the first to develop the artistic resources of the human intellect, is a disputed question. It was from these countries, undoubtedly, that the art found its way through Greece into Europe, where it was soon carried to great perfection. Tiles were used by the Grecians, Romans, Venetians, and most nations of southern Europe. The history of tiles, during the intervening time, from the Romans to the Mussulmans, Saracens, and Moors, is not known, but its revival is due to the last named. From 732 to 1492, Spain was famous for its potteries, as were also India and Asia Minor. The tiles most used were fiat tiles turned up at the edges, with a row of inverted semicylindrical ones over the pints.
In the Middle Ages, tiles were the principal covering, though stone slabs were much used and laid in the same manner as shingles, supported on barrel-vaulted roofs.
6. In the following outline, the types of roofing tiles are illustrated in a general way, and mention is made of those by whom they were originally used.
Tiles are supposed to have been first brought to America by the German settlers in Pennsylvania, and were of the flat variety. The pan tile was brought by the Dutch, who settled on the Delaware River, New Jersey; and the Spanish tile, by the old Jesuits to California.
For the normal (Asiatic), see Fig. 8. Those marked (a) were used in the Orient, Ancient Greece, and Italy; those marked (b), in China and India; those marked (c), in the Orient, in Asia, and the Mediterranean countries, south of latitude 44°; those marked (d), in Greece and Italy, ancient and modern. For the pan (Belgic), see Fig. 9. Those marked (e) were used in England and Scandinavia, those marked (f), in Belgium, Holland, Scandinavia, Japan, and Java; those marked (g), in various modern countries. The flat (Germanic) were used in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, France, and England.