From Scotland, James White Hislop (1860-1932) and his two sons founded the California Art Tile Company. His father and grandfather were also noted clay crafts workers in Scotland. Hislop came to California in 1884, working at Gladding McBean in Lincoln, CA, which manufactured sewer pipe and architectural elements, but no tile at that location. After 17 years there, and another 20 years working in brick and pottery companies in Stockton, CA, Hislop settled in Richmond, CA. He opened his own company with his sons in 1922 first called the Clay Glow Tile Company, changing the name in 1923.
Terra cotta tile has remained a constant in California since the Spanish colonists, but it experienced a revival after the popular 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. California was the leading producer of architectural terra-cotta tile (bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, etc.) in the United States with more than 40 companies making tile between 1910-1940. California Art tiles are distinctive because they are not brightly colored or highly glazed. They have subdued colors and earth tones resulting in a mellow informal or “soft” look. This was consistent with the handmade look that characterized the Arts and Crafts movement. Tiles produced by this company are among the premier examples of artistic tile produced during the California arts and crafts period.