Mangalore tiles (also Mangalorean tiles)were first introduced in India by a German missionary at the coastal town of Mangalore. These are fired clay tiles. Since then the industry flourished in India.


Basel Mission Industries was established at Mangalore in the year 1844 for the scientific manufacture of roofing tiles. Plebot was a German missionary who established this factory. Large deposits of clay by the banks of the Gurupura and Nethravathi rivers was the prime reason for selecting this Location. Patents were taken out in the year 1865. The Factory was called Basel Mission Tile Factory, and was the first ever tile factory in India, located on the banks of the Nethravathi river, at Jeppoo. Before that, clay tiles were made in India by potters. Initially hand presses and mills driven by bullocks were used. In 1881 steam engines were used to power the presses. To meet the demand of Mission Tiles, factories were set up in Puthiyara (1873),Kudroli , Malpe, Codacal, Olavakkode and Feroke. After the fall out of First World War, in 1919, the Basel Mission Industries was taken over by British Government and a new company The Commonwealth Trust was set up. In 1977, the British management of the company was handed over to Indians and The Commonwealth Trust (India) Ltd came into being.

Several other tile factories came up in the years that followed. In 1868, the Albuquerque tile factory producing these tiles was started by Mr.Pascal Albuquerque at South Canara. In 1878, the Alvares tile factory was established by Mr.Simon Alvares of Bombay at Mangalore. Abundant deposits of clay, plenty of firewood, cheap skilled labour helped the industry to flourish. By the 1900s there were around 25 tile factories situated in and around Mangalore. By 1994 around 75 tile factories were present in Mangalore. These Factories produced different building materials such as Roof tiles, ridges, ceiling tiles, hourdies, bricks, floor tiles, terrace slabs, taylor tiles, ventilators, skylights, flower pots and water coolers. Feroke is known as the cradle of the Clay tile industry in Kerala. The rivers from the Western Ghats after passing through forests carry the clay which was the raw-material for tiles, pottery and ceramic wares. There were more than a dozen tile factories only in Feroke. The Commonwealth Tile Factory, The Calicut Tile Co. Feroke Tile works, Malabar Tile Works were amongst the major clay roofing companies in this area.

Trichur became the third important terracotta production Hub in Kerala. Several prominent tile producers have production facilities at Trichur and surrounding areas, which includes St. Antony’s Tile ( est 1895). Of late, number of ceramic pottery manufacturing units were established around Wankaner, Thangadh and Morbi in Gujarat. By 2007, the industry suffered a major setback with more than 50% tile factories shutting down due to scarcity of raw materials, lack of modernization and failure to apply modern management concepts.

Glazed roof tile in India

Redland plc from UK started a glazed roofing tile plant at Feroke in the year 1996 in collaboration with The commonwealth Trust India Ltd at Feroke,Calicut. Ceramic glaze is applied on Clay tiles to give a smooth coloured finish to the tiles. Later this company was taken over by Lafarge Roofing.This paved the way for foreign companies to enter into the manufacturing of roof tiles in India.

Cement roof tiles in India

Production of Cement roof tiles in a small way was started in India by the year 2000 by a few small scale players with the help of Development Alternatives and TARA. During this time, a Bangalore based clay tile manufacturer produced cement tiles using extruder in a small scale. But the high volume production of cement roof ties in India was started by Lafarge Roofing in the year 2003, when they commissioned its plant at Bommasandra Industrial area, Bangalore.

Pionnier Roofing is the FIRST Indian company that has ventured into the production of coloured cement roof tiles.

The Company started it’s commercial production in the year 2008 at Palakkad, Kerala. Its second plant was commissioned in MIDC Halkarni, Kolhapur, Maharashtra in the year 2011 and is all set to spread out within India to cater to the ever increasing Indian roof tile market.