Mail Order Markers

The Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, produced cast zinc cemetery markers billed as “white bronze.”  The company set up their first subsidiary in Detroit, Michigan. Others followed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, St. Thomas, Ontario, Des Moines, and Chicago. The Chicago subsidiary was named the American Bronze Company.

Enterprising salesmen carried a catalog door-to-door with them to show customers the many styles and price ranges of their product line. In many cemeteries you can find evidence of highly successful salesmen who sold a large number of the markers. The zinc markers were produced beginning in the 1870s until the company closed shop in 1912.

The markers are distinguishable by their bluish-gray tint. 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.

They were customized in other ways, as well. For instance, a customer could order a portrait cast in zinc for the monument—the ultimate personalization. These portraits came in several different forms—a bust, a full statue, or a bas-relief.  The examples show the range of possibilities that existed and that customers ordered.

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