Taylor Tile / Santa Monica Brick / Santa Monica Tile
Taylor Tile originated in Santa Monica around 1920 as a partnership between Eric Douglas and Frank Taylor. According to California Tile: The Golden Era (Taylor, Soukup, Kotter), Taylor scouted throughout Los Angeles County for good clay and settled on Santa Monica where area deposits were sufficient to support several area potteries. Operating as Santa Monica Brick through the 1920s, they produced brick to support the area building boom and later added roofing and decorative tile as well as large garden pottery ornaments and chimney pots. Outside designers and architects provided initial tile designs produced by the company. The red clay tiles glazed in the cuenca (raised line) style are often stamped with the trade name “Monaco” and Santa Monica Brick.
In 1930, the company rebranded as Taylor Tile after Douglas left, continuing to produce decorative tile. Taylor discovered a market for tilery used in small tabletops, supplying tiles to Los Angeles area furniture manufacturers, including the Los Angeles Period Furniture Company, Western Table Company, and the Joseph McPherson Furniture Company. With the closure of Malibu Tile in 1934, Taylor hired designer William (Bill) Handley to head up design. Handley was responsible for Taylor’s famous bird panel designs and also reproduced several Malibu designs for Taylor.
As the economy began to recover in the mid- to late-1930s, Taylor resumed production of more profitable roofing tile. Eric Douglas reappears in 1937 demanding his share of the business. Taylor split their operations between their Santa Monica (Douglas) and Whittier (Taylor) facilities. Douglas renamed his business as Santa Monica Tile and continued to produce decorative tile.