A: Subway tiles were originally created to be placed on the walls within the subways by designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge. They created the distinctive 3" x 6" ceramic rectangles for the very first station of New York's brand-new subway that opened in 1904. The idea was that the tiles would stand up to heavy duty cleaning and scrubbing.
Subway tile in New York's old City Hall subway station that opened in 1904. Picture from the Library of Congress
A current picture in New York’s subway station. Photo by Fine Art America
Today subway tile is trending in every design magazine and on HGTV. This beautiful kitchen from Fixer Upper shows a white subway with grey grout. The grey grout ties in the grey walls and defines the lines of the tile. A very popular combination.
The simplicity of this tile gives a transitional effect every homeowner will love for many years.