Zinc tombstones, Union Grove Cemetery

15 01 2009

 

Monumental Bronze Company inscription, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 24 June 2008; all rights reserved.

Monumental Bronze Company inscription, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 24 June 2008; all rights reserved.

I love zinc (aka white bronze) tombstones. I find a bit ironic that cemeteries across the country discouraged or banned the installation of them because they were seen as being tacky, but now they are the most legible tombstones. 

 

Zinc/white bronze tombstones were manufactured by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. 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. 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.

Both of these tombstones are found in Union Grove Cemetery in Canal Winchester, Ohio. The taller tombstone for the Rager family is a more typical zinc tombstone. The Grace Courtright marker with the praying child is much more unusual. It stands approximately 2.5 feet tall. I’ve never seen another zinc marker like it. If you’ve seen another one, please leave a comment and let me know.

 

Rager monument, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 24 June 2008; all rights reserved.

Rager monument, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 24 June 2008; all rights reserved.

 

Grace Courtright marker, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 24 June 2008; all rights reserved.

Grace Courtright marker, Union Grove Cemetery, Canal Winchester, Ohio. Photo by Amy Crow, taken 24 June 2008; all rights reserved.

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15 responses

15 01 2009
Beth Santore

I’ve seen that gravestone at Union Grove Cemetery! I can only think of one other, but it looks like it may be a little different: http://www.graveaddiction.com/wade.html

15 01 2009
Beth Santore

This one too:

http://www.graveaddiction.com/somerset.html

That’s what I love about zinc – how different items could be mixed and matched.

15 01 2009
JoLyn

I just read your spotlight on the Graveyard Rabbit blog. It’s nice to get to know you!

These are such interesting headstones – and a great article.

16 01 2009
Amy

Thank you, JoLyn!

16 01 2009
Amy

Thanks for the links, Beth! I don’t know how I missed that one in Somerset. You’re right about zinc. For being from a catalog, there were a lot of ways to customize them!

It better warm up soon — I’m having cemetery withdrawal!

16 01 2009
toshtensen

My husband and I have bee scouting metal monuments (iron crosses and zinc) for about 6 years now and have hundreds of photographs. I hope some day soon to create a blog/website as well. St Thomas, Ontario also had a Monumental Bronze co subsidiary. It seems that some, if not all, of the regional production was done at the subsidiaries. Detroit only lasted a few years, but they did have a foundry.

We have collected other White Bronze artifacts as well including paper ephemera, a printers plate with an advertisement and – the prize possession – a salesman sample white bronze headstone!!

17 01 2009
Cherie

Have you seen the message boards on Find a Grave? “Zinkers” as they call them there, are very popular, there’s a thread there to show off one’s we’ve photographed, although it looks like no one has posted anything new for a while. The beginning of the thread is at:

http://www.findagrave.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=633784&fpart=1

Those are great! I try to get a photo of most of the zinc markers I come across.

21 01 2009
Amy

I envy you, toshtensen! I bet that salesman sample is very cool!

Cherie, thanks for the link to that thread!

5 03 2009
Jessie

I only recently discover zinc tombstones, they are wonderful. Does anyone know if they are still made? They may have some problems over the years but no worse than other forms of markers. The best thing about them is the ability to read the inscriptions and see any detail clearly. I really enjoyed the photos.

7 03 2009
Amy

I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, Jessie!

Sadly, zinc tombstones are no longer made. The Monumental Bronze Company went out of business in 1912.

6 04 2009
Jodie R.

Hello! I’m so glad I found your blog 🙂 We also live in central Ohio and are cemetery buffs. My husband runs http://www.ohioexploration.com, on which we showcase our cemetery photography, along with buildings and other things that my husband enjoys photographing. I’ve been a genealogist since I was ten, and when I found a man who enjoys going to cemeteries just as much as I do, I had to snatch him up quick and marry him 🙂 I’m going to enjoy reading through your blog these next few days!

7 04 2009
Amy

Hi Jodie! Thanks for stopping by! I’ve seen your husband’s site — way cool stuff there! I need to go back and explore it some more.

Right now, I’m waiting for this silly central Ohio weather to settle down so I can hit some more cemeteries!

6 08 2010
Jay Carson

I have found what I believe from pics to be a zinc head marker for a 1st cousin 5 times removed. The lack of weathering would tend to show this also. I have never been to the monument but the detail of names and dates and such does not appear to be a separate plate as far as I can tell from the pic, it looks to be cast as part of the monument. Was this ever done, was there another company?

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=84415&GRid=10400890&

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GScid=84415&GRid=10400897&

7 08 2010
Amy

Jay, I’d say that is a zinc marker. I should have clarified that it was possible in some styles to have it cast as a single panel, rather than the inset panel that was screwed on. As far as is known, Monumental Bronze was the only company that made zinc monuments.

23 03 2011
nancy middleton

We also have some of these in Walkersville, MD. I’ve always been fascinated with them because they last so much better and are truly beutiful. Thanks for sharing what you know about them!

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