Archive for April 19th, 2010

The first time I heard about a zinker, I had posted a photograph of one to the group for Metal Grave Markers on Flickr. Someone commented that the kind of marker I had photographed was called a zinker because it was made of zinc. Sometimes the zinc was called white bronze as well, which apparently sounded better. With a little more digging, I discovered that one company produced zinkers, the Monumental Bronze Company, with a home office in Bridgeport, Connecticut, although there were subsidiaries later on. The company made these monuments from 1874 until 1914, and continued to make plaques for the updating of existing markers until 1939.

Here’s the zinker that started it all:
Thomas Blair

Here’s another one very close by in the same cemetery, for the Hannaford familly:

You can see that William Hannaford, a veteran of the American Civil War, was born in 1838 and was buried here in 1901. The panel on the end is for George and Rueben, sons who died at age 2 years and 4 weeks respectively. The other narrow end contains the name of Julia A. Benford, presumably a daughter who lived from 1883 to 1902. The other side of the monument is here:
Julia M. Hannaford

Presumably, whoever was responsible for Julia’s funeral and monument arrangements had to contact the Monumental Brass Company to add a new panel to the Hannaford monument for her. You can clearly see the little zinc “screws” that hold the panel with her name, birth year, and death year. Looking behind her monument, you can also see that each family member has an individual head or footstone.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in Kent County, Michigan, have the most complete information I’ve seen on the Monumental Brass Company, because the company made a local Civil War Monument. This post on A Graver’s Journal contains a description on how to spot a zinker.

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