Tombstones and Gravestones…Take 2…Zinc

As stated in the previous post, “Tombstone” and “gravestone” are words that are used interchangeably to describe all grave markers, no matter what they are made of.  And, in fact, gravestones or rather grave markers are made of many kinds of materials, including zinc. 

Zinc markers, often referred to as “Zincies” by cemetery aficionados, were produced and sold by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Though the company billed the markers as “white bronze” they were cast zinc.  The markers are distinguishable by their bluish-gray tint. Many of the designs mimicked designs that were commonly found carved from stone.

The company set up their first subsidiary in Detroit, Michigan. Others followed in Philadelphia, New Orleans, St. Thomas, Ontario, Des Moines, and Chicago. Enterprising salesmen carried a catalog door-to-door with them to show customers the many styles and price ranges of the 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.

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 bolted on 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.

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