Man's basic necessities are food and shelter. When prehistoric man vacated his cave, his first 'house' was no more than a roof of plaited leaves supported by poles. Over the course of time, walls were added to keep out wind and snow, and these walls eventually replaced the poles and supported the roof.

The roof, too was changing, and around 5000 years ago the first earthenware tiles were being manufactured in China. They were laid in a pattern known as over and under, not so dissimilar to that brought into Britain by the Romans, 3000 years later.

The first clay tiles were moulded by hand but later use of simple machinery made possible many more variations in shape. These tiles were introduced into Mediterranean Europe and then into Spain, through the Moorish invasion. Despite subsequent changes in design, this Spanish over and under design is still recognisable today.
It was not until the middle of the 16th Century that a one piece over and under tile was produced. This invention originated in Flanders and was known as a pantile.
1844 saw the emergence of the concrete roof tile. Manufactured by the Kroher family. Most of the tiles had little or no colouring and were eminently suitable in the mountains of Bavaria where they were made.
A simple hand operated press was used for making the tiles and a daily output of 125 was eventually achieved. After such a promising beginning it was not until the early 1900's that the first power operated machines were introduced.

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