Tombstone Tuesday: Zinc or White Bronze

Rager monument, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, Ohio

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.

Pickering Monument, Violet Cemetery, Pickerington, Ohio

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.

Broken zinc marker, Violet Cemetery, Pickerington, Ohio

Zinc markers did not come in only obelisk form. Other shapes and styles included chest-like monuments, books, lambs, and even praying children.

Praying child marker, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, OhioCedar Hill Cemetery, Newark, Ohio


There are several good articles about zinc monuments on the Internet. Two of them are:

Zinc lamb, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Newark, Ohio

Posted: July 1, 2008.

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