NotesThis terracotta roof tile was manufactured by Wunderlich Limited.
In 1892 the Wunderlich brothers had purchased a wayward shipment of roofing tiles from France. The shipment established a profitable relationship with the Tile Manufacturers of Marseilles. It was the first of 110 cargoes to arrive by 1914, totalling 75 million tiles. This type of interlocking tile was developed in Marseilles during the 1850s, and was produced by several tileries whose products were sold through the syndicate which dealt with Wunderlich. Only the export tiles were red; European French tiles retained a slate grey.
Sydney's love affair with red Marseilles tiles commenced here, more or less superceding slate or iron roofs. Tiled roofs were a perfect match for the Arts & Crafts 'Federation' domestic style architecture of the time. However they have remained popular right up to the present, regardless of prevailing architectural styles and philosophies.
Wunderlich was unable to satisfy the demand once the Great War stopped the shipment from France. The Wunderlich Company had foreseen the possibility of the European war and had installed experimental tilery plants in Sydney and Melbourne, at the same time purchasing clay lands in these areas.  By the time the war made importation of Marseilles tiles impossible, Wunderlich Limited was ready to start full scale production of their own branded tiles.
In the 'Forty Year' history of Wunderlich the processes for making terracotta roof tiles was described as the following:
?The clay used for tile making at Rosehill is won from a pit that has been sampled and tested to a depth of 50 feet, the hole being proved of excellent quality. A 'fall' of clay from the face is brought to the clay preparing department by an endless haulage system, and is ground while in a moist condition, thus acquiring an extremely dense nature. Passing through the mixer into the pugging machine, it emerges from the latter as a continuous, homogenous mass, which travels along rollers to a cutting device, where it is cut automatically into ?bats? of uniform shape. These pass along a conveyor belt to the tile presses, where each bat, as it arrives, is shaped and consolidated under considerable pressure, between two dies, the surplus water being eliminated during this process. The formed tiles are then placed on trays and hoisted on an endless elevator to one of the several drying floors. Here the 'green' (unburnt) tiles are stored on racks, to remain under close observation and carefully controlled conditions for a period averaging about 14 days.
When sufficiently rigid for safe handling, the tiles are trucked to the kilns and stacked or ?set? in tiers, after which the entrance to the kiln is sealed and the fires are set going. Day and night the wiles are subjected to a gradual burning process, scientifically controlled by pyrometers, and carried out in careful stages so that all the free moisture may be removed before the temperature is raised to the level which produces the steel-hard tile. Then, after slow cooling and annealing, the tiles are ?dragged? and graded into stacks, any faulty product being rejected.?
Wunderlich may have painted Sydney red with the importation of Marseilles roofing tiles , however this soon changed when they began to produce their own tiles shades brindle, buff, chocolate, and blended colours combined with full and semi-glazed effects. The museum has representations of most of these types of roof tiles in its collection.
Forty Years of Wunderlich Industry 1887-1927, Wunderlich Ltd, 1927
Trade Brochure, Colour in Wunderlich Products, Wunderlich Ltd, Museum Research Library
MadeWunderlich Limited 1916-1950