Woolenius Tile Company
Berkeley, California

Charles Elsenius, a brick mason by trade, specialized in fireplace and chimney installations in the San Francisco Bay Area during the boom years of the 1920s. Seeing a niche for himself in the competitive tile market at that time, he founded the Woolenius Tile Company in 1927 producing tiles in direct competition with numerous other Bay Area companies. The advantage of Woolenius tiles was that they were considerably less expensive than the others, yet equally attractive. Elsenius worked with tract builders, in particular Charles MacGregor, who was well-established in building lower-priced homes, those that distinguished themselves by having colorful tiled stair risers at their entrances and beautifully (or exotically) tiled fireplace surrounds inside. The company closed in 1941.

For a more detailed account see the chapter by tile historian Riley Doty in California Tile, The Golden Era 1910-1940: Hispano-Moresque to Woolenius, published by Schiffer, 2004.

  To view past Tiles of the Month, click here!

   Back to THF Home Page