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[graphic header] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor
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[graphic] Moravian Pottery & Tile Works


[photo] Modern Day Moravian Pottery & Tile Works
Photograph by Sue Pridemore


[photo] Historic photographs of Moravian Pottery and Tile Works
Photographs from the National Register Collection

The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works was established by noted anthropologist, antiquarian, artist, writer, and tile-maker Henry C. Mercer, a leader in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts movement, in an effort to recreate early Pennsylvania pottery manufacturing techniques. In style, the Tile Works is an adaptation of the California Mission Church, partly chosen because Mercer believed good art came from religious faith; in construction it reflects the early use of reinforced concrete for industrial purposes. The Moravian Tile Works is his second building, constructed after the first was destroyed by fire. The name Moravian is derived from his collection of old Moravian stove plates. Mercer's factory produced tiles depicting Pennsylvania flora and fauna. Mercer was awarded a gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition and a 1921 gold medal from the American Institute of Architects. The Tile Works is owned by the Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation and is open to the public as a museum illustrating Mercer's tile making techniques. The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works building is a short distance away from the Mercer Museum, and is a "U" shaped building constructed around an open courtyard. Built of reinforced concrete with concrete buttresses, measuring approximately 120 feet by 100 feet with arcaded court, it resembles a medieval cloister. The factory is 2 stories built in tiers with towers. The gable roofs have rounded ridges of brushed concrete with steep parapets at the gable ends. Irregular chimneys and windows with a variety of decorative tiles are set in both exterior and interior walls. The present building, built between 1911 and 1912, still functions as a manufactory of mostly architectural tiles, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of Interior in 1985.

Located alongside Fonthill, the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works is located on Fonthill and Moravian Pottery Court St. and 130 Swamp Rd., off of Rte. 313, which runs north/south of Doylestown. The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works Museum is open daily from 10:00am to 4:45pm, and closed on major holidays. There is a fee. Please call 215-345-6722 or visit the website for further information.


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