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The history of tile dates to Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. The earliest tiles were clay, often baked beneath the sun. Early glazes used copper and were blue in color. Tile can be found in the ruins of ancient Rome.

Here are two outlets to learn more:

• Tile Council of America Inc., 100 Clemson Research Blvd., Anderson, S.C., 29625; 1-864-646-8453; www.tileusa.com

The TCA was established in 1945 with the purpose of expanding the ceramic tile market in the United States.

• Masonry & Ceramic Tile Institute of Oregon, 3609 S.W. Corbett Ave., No. 4, Portland; 503-224-1940; www.mioctio.org

Funded by the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union Local 1, the association is the technical resource center and promotional voice of the local masonry and ceramic tile industry.