Using ceramics on buildings started in the mid-19th century and its popularity peaked with the art nouveau movement throughout Europe. The use of ceramics on the outside of buildings was hindered as the material had to satisfy the criteria for density and frost resistance because, on average, frosting and defrosting alternated 40 periods per year in Hungary. Vilmos Zsolnay and his team of experts developed the pyrogranite that met these high expectations, and the use of the ornate building material became widespread.
The Zsolnay factory was well known for its glazed ceramic products as well as this self-manufactured material, pyrogranite; and their continuous technological development elevated the factory into the international elite. Initially in Hungary, it was the difficult to acquire, more expensive stone elements that were replaced with ceramics. First it was used for balcony brackets, chapiters and ledges and later, when the need for ornaments increased, for friezes and window frames. Zsolnay ceramics earned their due recognition in the history of Hungarian as well as international architecture through Ödön Lechner’s works.