Cairo Tiling‎ > ‎


In the course of my investigations, of which I have been directing operations from afar, I have been assisted by numerous people in this quest, in various degrees of helpfulness, of which I would now like to acknowledge their contribution.

In particular, in different ways, four people are responsible for the majority of the sightings and findings, and therefore the report here:

  • Helen Donnelly, an artist visiting Cairo, who provided the all-important initial finding of the in situ tiling (and incidentally who I regard as the co-discoverer), of which without her initial report the findings and therefore all subsequent reports/investigations would almost certainly not have occurred, as all my investigations had drawn a blank up to that point.
  • Gregg De Young, of the American University in Cairo, who in effect carried on where Donnelly left off, with numerous additional sightings in different locations in Egypt, on occasions making special journeys, not to mention finding additional references outside of Cairo, in Aswan, and other researches as well, and who went above and beyond the call of duty on this.
  • Pam Garnett, who found instances outside of Cairo, at El Alamein, Alexandria, and along the road of the Iberotel Hotel, Bourg el Arab, and for visting the AUC special collections library
  • Yasmine Dorghamy, who has found, through yet another intermediary, Nadia Abdel Hafiz, the doyenne of the tile industry, a 1940s account that is compelling, the tile designer, a Ramzi Omar, and a patent!

Admittedly, all joined in the spirit of the adventure as a ‘fun thing’, but they did not have to! This short recognition of their respective contributions does not really do them justice. You have all been magnificent in this.

Aside from Gregg De Young of the AUC, above, I have been assisted by many people at the AUC, whom almost all replied to my queries. In particular:
Brian MacDougall, Hesham A. Aziz, Gamal Abdou, who were instrumental in the vital report of the manufacturer, at El Obour
Steven Urgola and Nada Yessen, for archive photographs at the American University in Cairo
Margaret Shabka, for an account of a 1966 sighting at the AUC
And in a generalised sense, Soraya Altorki, Mahmoud Farag, Mario Feninger, Suzan Habachy, Nellie Hanna, Richard Murray, Nazek Nosseir, Hosny Omar, Doris Shokri, George Scanlon and Yervant Terzian

Other people have also played their part too, and in a significant manner concerning sightings of the tiling outside of Cairo, in other countries:

  • Jürgen Koeller, Harald Riege, and Leon van den Broek, for information regarding sightings in Germany. In particular, Riege also made additional journeys at my request and sent additional pictures
  • Istvan Hargittai, Jun Nishiseko and Yoshiaki Araki, for sightings in Japan. In particular, Araki also made additional journeys at my request and sent additional pictures.
  • Richard Phillips, for a sighting of uncertain provenance

Numerous other people have contributed in less substantial means, but by no means of lesser importance; indeed the account would be sorely lacking without their contribution:

·         George Andrews, for a MacMahon reference

·         George Baloglou, for aspects of colouring the tiling per se

·         Carol Bier, for a important book reference

·         Alfred B. Bonds, Stefan Richter, Michel Thuriaux and Peter Swift, for recollections of historic Maadi

·         James Dunn, who clarified his initial article in The Mathematical Gazette

·         Mohamed Elmokadem, for further sightings elsewhere in Cairo and for much other interesting information concerning the background of the tiling

·         Bertfried Fauser, for a translation of a F. Haag reference

·        Joann Fletcher, for putting me in contact with Yasmine Dorghamy

·         Greg Frederickson, for F. Haag references

·         Kees Hulsman, Adel Rizkallah, Kamal of the Maadi Messenger, for various aspects of an article in the journal

·         Andrew Humphries, for Old Cataract hotel queries

·         Laëtitia Hure, for searching (forlornly) in the archives of the Old Cataract Hotel for a picture

·         John Knapman, for pavement technical details

·         John Lockerbie, for much helpful discussion

·         Agnes Mueller, company archivist, for background details of Villeroy & Boch company

·         Greg Niemeyer, for a sighting as a flooring in a Cairo apartment

·         Tim Noakes, of Stanford special collections for looking in the Martin Gardner archive

·         Douglas Rogers, for MacMahon references, and much helpful discussion

·         Craig Scott, for clarifications as to his Heliopolis sighting

·         John Sharp, for pointing out many references to the Cairo tiling in various articles, and for much help in a generalised sense

·         Mark Waghorn, for pointing out the premise of collinearity as regards tile analysis

·         Robin Wilson, for clarifying his sighting on YouTube

·         Mohamed Yousif, Joseph McLaughlin, Toshi Sunada and Tomomi Kannari, for putting me in contact with De Young, Dunn, Nishiseko and Araki respectively

·         Mladena Žarković and 3LHD architects, for details of their architectural project in Croatia

·         Mostfa Zaki, of the El Obour tile factory, for the all-important details of the manufacturer

·         Hala Said, for identifying the location of the paving at a 2011 BBC interview


Other people who answered my mails include: Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Bruce Bilney, Eric Broug, Antonia Buitrago Redondo, Bob Burn, Paul Garcia, René Jansen, Frank Morgan, Alain Nicolas, Daniel Ogassian, Michael O’Keeffe, Daniel Da Rocha, Phillipe Samyn, Doris Schattschneider, Paul Scott, Paul Smith, Daud Sutton, Mark Thompson, Eric Weisstein, Brian Wichmann, Simon Wintermans.

Created: 6 April 2012. Last Updated: 12 March 2019