“White Bronze”

River View Cemetery, Portland, Oregon

The Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, produced what was billed as white bronze cemetery markers from the 1870s until 1912.  The markers are distinguished by their bluish-gray tint.  The markers are not bronze but actually cast zinc.  The zinc is resistant to corrosion but the zinc becomes brittle over time and cracking and shrinking can occur.

These grave markers came in a wide assortment of sizes and shapes and were somewhat like grave marker erector sets.  The more elaborate markers had a shell of sorts and then various panels could be attached according to the tastes of the family ordering the grave marker.  In this way, each marker could be “customized” to the tastes of the individual.  The markers were designed to look like traditional markers and from a distance, except for the tale tale bluish-gray color, they do.  The markers come in many of the shapes and sizes of gravestones that were popular during that time period.  In this example the base is cast to look like rough stone.

This marker has one of the side panels missing. The side panels were affixed with screws in the corner of the opening.

This photograph shows the inside of the marker, the frame, the side panels attached, and the hollow interior.

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