For those that enjoy virtual zinker-hunting or have posted your own zinker finds and snaps on Flickr and were looking for a like-minded group with which to share, I recommend the White Bronze Flickr group.
A few years back I wrote a post titled “Zinker Hunting” about the hard-to-find yet fun-to-discover rare, white bronze headstones, known in graving circles and to taphophiles as “zinkers” for their zinc composition.
The post stated, in part:
Gravers, if they know what to look for, are always on the lookout for a “zinker”. The term is slang for whitish headstones, advertised as “white bronze” in their day, which are made of pure zinc. What makes these particular markers unique is that they were only manufactured for a short duration of time by a singular company - and later its subsidiaries - in the United States.
The allure of zinkers never caught on due to their cheap cost and fragile appearance. The result is unfortunate because zinkers, as anyone can tell you, appear to stand the test of time far more diligently than their stone, iron, limestone, granite, and even marble counterparts. A zinker over one hundred years old will often look as if it was minted only the day before.
It was in Bridgeport, Connecticut that the Monumental Bronze Company first began the manufacture of “white bronze” headstones - a cheaper alternative to traditional monuments; while a large and ornate white bronze marker could go for up to $5,000.00, a small, simple name and date plate could sell for as low as $2.00.
Curious to see if you can find a zinker on your next trip to a graveyard? Then you might be wondering just how rare is it to stumble across a zinker headstone while cemetery hopping?
It seems to vary by region. There are few to none in some states while areas that were in closer proximity to the Monumental Bronze Company in Connecticut seem to be more zinker-populated. At least, this seems to be the conclusion I have come to when viewing zinkers online and noting where they were photographed at.
In all my years of graving and the hundreds of cemeteries I have visited here in Louisiana, I have only ever found two. My first I found on an old family/genealogy graving trip and my second I discovered just a few months ago during a visit to one of Baton Rouge’s oldest boneyards (my friend, who is a photographer and was visiting from the east coast, snapped the photo).
If you have snapped some zinker photos during your cemetery jaunts, please photo reply or share a link to your work.