Historic Manufacturing Over the Years

Posted On: October 25, 2023

Our factory workers are the backbone of our business. Every day, over a hundred workers fill our plant to make beautiful tile. Architectural terra cotta isn’t easy work, and it doesn’t make itself – heavy material, attention to detail, thousands of profiles, limitless colors – but with 135 years of experience, we have passed down knowledge over generations. Many of those generations have a legacy working at our facility – great grandfathers, grandfathers, fathers, and today.

Below are some photos dating between the late 1890’s to today of just a few of the men and women we have to thank for keeping our rich history alive.

Ludowici’s legacy of terra cotta craftsmanship began nearly 400 years ago in Rome when the Ludovisi family became known for their expertly crafted roof tile. As demand for their tile grew, the family moved to Germany and began manufacturing under the Germanized name, Ludowici. In the late 1800s, looking to expand the family’s business into the new world, a branch of the Ludowici’s moved to Chicago, IL and an American tradition was born.

The manufacturing boom of the late 1800s also saw the creation of the Celadon Roofing Tile Company in Alfred, New York, in 1888. After the turn of the century, Celadon expanded its manufacturing capabilities by purchasing the Imperial Brick Plant in New Lexington, Ohio, taking advantage of the local rich clay deposits.

Soon after, in 1906, the Ludowici Roofing Tile Company purchased the Celadon Roofing Tile Company becoming the largest terra cotta roofing tile company in the United States. The new unified company was called Ludowici-Celadon and operated five plants across the country. Below are some early day photos courtesy of Ludowici and Celadon’s (via Alfred University) archives.