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The Batchelder Registry

Feb 5, 2017

credit-vintageseattleorgThe Pasadena Museum of History is looking for you!

And your Batchelder tiles.

Do you have a fireplace, fountain, door frame, floor, or even a pool with Batchelder tiles? Have any colorful peacocks, oaks, Mayan heads, medievalized lions, leaping hares, or geometric shapes interpreted by Ernest Batchelder and immortalized in tile? Become a part of the Batchelder Registry!

Please send a photograph with dimensions of your tile installation, and the date of your house/building to research@pasadenahistory.org. (Please note: this information will not be shared with the public. Although our plan is to eventually develop a database for public use, no property will be listed without the owner’s permission.)
—Pasadena Museum of History

 

“Maya” tile plaque in backyard of Batchelder bungalow, circa 1927. Photograph by Joann Wilborn/Marlyn Woo. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

“Maya” tile plaque in backyard of Batchelder bungalow, circa 1927. Photograph by Joann Wilborn/Marlyn Woo. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

 

PMH’s Batchelder Registry is in conjunction with PMH’s exhibition “Batchelder: Tilemaker,” which runs through March 12, 2017.

No factory records are known to exist for Batchelder’s tile business, which was in operation from 1910 through the 1930s. Through this ongoing public outreach, Pasadena Museum of History is documenting for the first time the scope of the business and distribution of the tiles throughout North America.
—Pasadena Museum of History

 

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Ernest Allan Batchelder (1875-1957) was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, attended what’s now the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and trained at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts in Britain. Batchelder came to Pasadena to teach in the early 1900’s (we’ve been unable to find an exact year) and became director of the art department at Throop Polytechnic Institute, the predecessor of Caltech.

 

Ernest Batchelder; photo courtesy of PMH

Ernest Batchelder; photo courtesy of PMH

 

In 1909, Batchelder built a kiln behind his home overlooking the Arroyo and began creating handmade tiles. According to Tile Nut, “the enterprise was timely; Southern California’s booming construction industry called for architectural tiles, and his products were much in demand.” He moved twice to expand his business, but the Great Depression put him out of business in 1932. So, it was back to his home for creating product. Batchelder continued to make “pottery” until the early 1950s.

 

Ernest Batchelder; photo sourced at FindAGrave.com, contributed by Pat McArron

Ernest Batchelder; photo sourced at FindAGrave.com, contributed by Pat McArron

 

Not sure if your tiles are Batchelder? Feel free to send us photos. Museum researchers will be glad to check in the Batchelder tile catalogs to see if any of your tiles match. Please note that the Museum cannot authenticate or appraise your tiles; however, we can provide a list of experts you can contact for those services.
—Pasadena Museum of History

 

Batchelder fireplace, circa 1923, in house on Loma Vista. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

Batchelder fireplace, circa 1923, in house on Loma Vista. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

 

Detail of Batchelder tile (cat. #530) on Loma Vista fireplace. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

Detail of Batchelder tile (cat. #530) on Loma Vista fireplace. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

 

Detail of Batchelder tile (cat. #530) on Loma Vista fireplace. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

Detail of Batchelder tile (cat. #530) on Loma Vista fireplace. Image courtesy of Pasadena Museum of History.

 

Cha-Rie Tang is a ceramic artist who’s now the PMH Artist in Residence for 2016/2017. Cha-Rie is the owner of one of the largest collections of Batchelder molds in the country and is producing tiles for the Commemorative Tile Campaign.

This campaign is to celebrate a donation of a Batchelder tile collection by architectural and award-winning historian and Trustee Emeritus, Robert Winter, PhD. Dr. Winter wrote the “definitive” Batchelder history in 1999 titled Batchelder Tilemaker (Balcony Press). He currently lives in Batchelder’s home at 626 South Arroyo Boulevard in Pasadena, a resident since 1979.

Batch elder Filemaker has been reprinted for this exhibit and is available for purchase in the Pasadena Museum of History store.

 

Robert Winter

Robert Winter

 

The commemorative tiles will create a new donor recognition site, which will be located on the front steps of the Museum’s History Center. To learn more, visit Commemorative Tile Campaign.

 

Pasadena Museum of History
470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena 91103
Hours: Wednesdays-Sundays, noon-5 p.m.
Admission: $7, general; $6, students & seniors; members and children under 12, free
Tel: 1.626.577.1660
For more details, visit PasadenaHistory.org

 

Detail of a Batchelder wall tile in the Hotel Hershey®, installed 1933. Image courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

Detail of a Batchelder wall tile in the Hotel Hershey®, installed 1933. Image courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

 

Detail of the Batchelder tile fountain in the Fountain Lobby of the magnificent Hotel Hershey®, installed 1933. Image courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

Detail of the Batchelder tile fountain in the Fountain Lobby of the magnificent Hotel Hershey®, installed 1933. Image courtesy of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

 

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Editor’s note: Batchelder Tilemaker by Robert Winter is out of print, but hardcover copies are available at Amazon.com and Ebay.com.

Source information:
The Quest to Save L. A.’s Century-Old Batchelder Tiles” by Liz Arnold, July 9, 2014, Curbed.com.

Downtown L. A.’s Dutch Chocolate Shop Building Is for Sale” by Bianca Barragan, September 14, 2016, LA.Curbed.com.

Batchelder Tile Prompts Dream of Sweet Future for L. A. Building” by Nita Lelyveld and Aida Ahmad, Los Angeles Times.

Ernest A. Batchelder” at ArtsAndCraftsTile.com.

Ernest A. Batchelder” at Wikipedia.com.

Chocolate Shop photography by Elizabeth Daniels at Elizabeth Daniels Photography.

 




1 Response for “The Batchelder Registry”

  1. Karol says:

    Ohh I love these tiles, such a colorful piece of Pasadena history!

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