Title of Installation

Empire State Dairy tile panels

Materials Used:

Ceramic Tiles

General Description:

One tile panel depicts a "Swiss" man holding a cow in a field with a pond and mountains in the background. The other panel depicts a young "Swiss" woman with a cow and calf in a similar field.

Technical Information (Size, mfg., Year Created,etc.): 

There are two tile panels consisting of 68, 9” or 12” polychromed, high relief, majolica tiles; 5 tiles across by 13 down with 3 tiles in a bottom 14th row; manufactured by the American Encaustic Tiling Co. of Zanesville, OH. The panels are situated near the top of the building and are separated by three large windows. 

Year Created:

c. 1913

Does Installation Still Exist

Yes, but the building is not protected by Landmark status, and the tiles will continue to exist only because of the good will of the building owners.

State: NY 

City: Brooklyn

Location of Installation:

2840-2844 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11207 (Kings County) between Barbey Street and Schenck Avenue in the East New York section of Brooklyn

Directions to Installation:                                        

Exit the Brooklyn Bridge and continue to Atlantic Ave. Turn left on Atlantic and drive 6.7 miles to 2840 on the right side of the  street.

Additional Information, Websites, Citations:

I saw blueprints for the building from c. 1913 which were drawn by "Otto Strack, Arch., 214-20 East 22nd Street, New York" (Otto Strack, 1857-1935); they were signed by an "Adam Wind--eth", possibly either the supervising architect, or the actual draughtsman who drew the plans.  Tile panels were clearly shown on the blueprints, and the blueprints were drawn for the Empire State Dairy Company. Sometime before 1912 the American Encaustic Tiling Company moved to 16 E. 41st Street, the address on one of the tiles on one panel. The Empire State Dairy Co. was sold to the Borden Dairy Co. about 1924 (New York Times, Feb. 1, 1924). (See "Borden Milk Plant" at http://www.tapeshare.com/AtlanticZ5.html), and the Borden signage was added to the building.

In June 2012 I returned to the Royal Plastics Company which owned the building to take more photos of the original architectural drawings. While there I was informed that the building owner had died a few months before, and no one knew what was going to happen to the building. I sent a request for landmark status evaluation to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on July 6, 2012.

Submitted By

Michael Padwee (tileback101"at"collector.org) in September 2010.                                                                    

Photos by Michael Padwee and Susan Tunick (Friends of Terra Cotta)

The "Signature" Tile

Photos above and below courtesy of Susan Tunick and Michael Padwee. The inscription reads:
1st line: possibly "Made by"
2nd line: "the A E Tile Co"
3rd line: "__ E 4_ St"
4th line: "New York"
A 1912 American Encaustic Tiling Co. catalog places the offices of the company at 16 East 41st Street, Manhattan.

Architectural drawings showing tile panels