“Surviving and success in a niche”

Master in the art of blue-reduced roofing tiles – the Alphons Meyer KG roofing tile factory in Emmerich-Vrasselt, Germany

Alphons Meyer KG in Emmerich-Vrasselt based in the Lower Rhine region of Germany is one of the few companies worldwide that still masters the art of making genuine blue-grey steam-reduced clay roofing tiles and still practises this art in historical kilns. This report reviews the company’s history and describes its product range, production operation and the technique of blue- reduction-firing clay roofing tiles at “one of the last in this métier”.

1 Introduction

The technique for the blue-reduction firing of clay roofing tiles and facing bricks evolved in Holland during the Baroque and Rococo eras and travelled from there to Germany, where it became very common, especially in the Lower Rhine region. The aim of blue-reduction was to the fire the roofing tiles and bricks to a similar colour to slate, a material that was popular in the Baroque era. Slate tiles for covering roofs were very expensive outside those areas with their own slate deposits owing to the high costs of transport and could therefore only be used in superior,...

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