Coming Apart at the Seams

Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota

SARAH ELLIS

DAUGHTER OFJ.A. & S. B.

LAURIE,

DIED FEB. 12, 1879

AGED

19 YRS, & 3 MOS.

 

TAKE THEM O FATH

ER IN THINE ARMS

AND MAY THEY

HENCEFORTH BE

A MESSENGER OF

LOVE BETWEEN,

OUR HUMAN

HEARTS AND THEE.

 

GEORGE MANN

FISKE

SON OF

REV. J.A. & S.B.

LAURIE,

DIED APR. 14, 1882

AGED

3 YRS. & 3 MOS.

 

“White bronze” or zinc cemetery markers were manufactured 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.

In this example found in the Lakewood Cemetery at Minneapolis, Minnesota, the zinc marker has a figure of a child praying. It is clear that the seam is separating, and in fact, it looks as if a repair or patch has been attempted.

IMG_8165

The praying child zinc marker is not an uncommon marker and, in fact, could be ordered from one of the companies that manufactured these markers on different bases. The praying child marker from the Somerset Cemetery at Somerset, Ohio, has the same figure with a different and more elaborate base.

Somerset Cemetery, Somerset, Ohio

Somerset Cemetery, Somerset, Ohio

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 they produced often mimicked the gravestones that were being produced in stone.  What traditional stone carvers created in marble and granite, the Monumental Bronze Company produced in cast zinc. Though the base is quite different on each of these grave markers, there is no mistaking the similarities between the statues of the child. The praying child gravestone carved in white marble is located in the Green-Wood Cemetery at Brooklyn, New York.

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York

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2 Responses to Coming Apart at the Seams

  1. Jen says:

    Great post! I have seen these markers, but never with this figure on top. Interesting to learn a bit more about how they could be put together.

    • Jen, I really like your site. I had a friend add my favorite Websites to my blog and as soon as I figure out how to do it myself, I am going to add your blog to my favorites list. Your photography is really beautiful. I especially love some of the photos from Italy.

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