Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, Doylestown

#3 of 10 in Museums in Bucks County
Specialty Museum · Museum
The Moravian Pottery & Tile Works (MPTW) is a history museum located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It is maintained by the County of Bucks, Department of Parks and Recreation. The museum was individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was later included in a National Historic Landmark District along with the Mercer Museum and Fonthill. These three structures are the only cast-in-place concrete structures built by Mercer.

Handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by the pottery's founder and builder, Henry Chapman Mercer. Tile designs are reissues of original designs. Mercer was a major proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement in America. He directed the work at the pottery from 1898 until his death in 1930.

Mercer generally did not affix a potter's mark to tiles made while he directed the work at MPTW. Following his death, there were several marks used to indicate that a tile had originated at MPTW. When the Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation took over the MPTW as a working museum, all tiles made by the museum were impressed on the obverse with a stylized "MOR," the words "Bucks County" and the year of manufacture (see illustration).

The reproduction tiles made today are made using Mercer's original molds, clay that is obtained locally and has properties similar to those of Mercer's original source, slips and glazes that follow Mercer's final formulations, although some have been modified to reduce the lead and heavy metal content to less toxic levels.

The Tile Works is one of three cast-in-place concrete structures built by Mercer. The others include Fonthill, which is located on the same property and served as his home; and the Mercer Museum, located approximately one mile away.

The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works offers workshops and an apprenticeship program to teach the art of handcrafting ceramic tiles and mosaics.

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Moravian Pottery and Tile Works reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
215 reviews
  • If you are looking to decorate your house, these tiles are a must! This place is so local, so historic, and so unique.  more »
  • We went here after the Fonthill Castle. Make a reservation early, the tour limit is only 5 people. It is an interesting introduction to the art of making tiles, something not as popular today. I...  more »
  • Such an interesting place! The artist was really nice and informative. The grounds are stunning! The lady behind the counter,when you first walk in, could use help when it comes to her customer service skills. Just with us she lost a hundred dollar sale because of her lack customer service and her lack of manners when it came to other patrons.
  • History is preserved here in this working museum. The tours are self guided starting every 15 minutes or so. You even get a chance to talk to the artists who work there to create the tiles as they were. Great experience.

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