This week’s edition of Tombstone Tuesday covers those tombstones that aren’t stone — they’re metal. Specifically, we’re going to discuss zinc or “white bronze” markers.
Zinc markers have a characteristic blue/gray color and feature raised lettering. If you’re in doubt as to whether a marker is zinc, tap on it. If it sounds hollow, it’s zinc.
These markers were made by only one company — the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Monumental Bronze had subsidiaries/distributors in Detroit, Chicago, and Des Moines and their work can be found across the United States. However, their years of production were very short — 1875 to 1912.
Customers could chose a variety of motifs (such as the anchor shown above). Panels on the sides of the marker could bear words or motifs (and sometimes both). Customization, such as the inscription, was cast in separate plates that would be screwed into a standard base.
The monument itself is hollow. Although the markers remain extremely legible, they are not immune from damage, such as being hit by lawnmowers or a fault in a seam causing the obelisk to fall. Such is the case of the marker shown below.
Zinc markers did not come in only obelisk form. Other shapes and styles included chest-like monuments, books, lambs, and even praying children.
There are several good articles about zinc monuments on the Internet. Two of them are:
- “Metal Monuments of Greenwood Cemetery” by Mark Culver at http://www.uni.edu/connors/metalmon.htm
- “What are White Bronze Monuments?” at http://www.zincmarkers.com