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Summary of "A Survey of White Bronze Mortuary Monuments in St. John's"


This article explores the history and characteristics of white bronze (zinc) cemetery monuments in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. It identifies four such monuments in three city cemeteries, describing each in detail and providing historical background. The connection of these monuments to the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut is established, and the article concludes with theories explaining the rarity of such monuments in St. John's.

Key Points

  • Common Materials: Traditionally, grave markers in Newfoundland and Labrador were made of stone, with marble becoming common in the mid-19th century.
  • Introduction of White Bronze: In the late Victorian era, white bronze, an alloy of copper, tin, and zinc, emerged as a novel grave marker material. Despite its name, it is not bronze but is durable, corrosion-resistant, and maintains its appearance over time.
  • Monumental Bronze Company: Most of the white bronze grave markers were produced by this Connecticut-based company, with a notable subsidiary in Ontario. The markers were affordable and considered more durable than marble.
  • St. John's Monuments: Four white bronze markers are identified in St. John's, each with unique characteristics and historical significance. They represent a small, unique subset of mortuary architecture in the city.
  • Societal Perspectives: Despite their benefits, zinc tombstones were seen as inferior to stone monuments and were not widely adopted.
  • Demise of White Bronze: The popularity of white bronze declined, particularly after World War I, leading to the closure of the Monumental Bronze Company in 1939.


The article provides a comprehensive overview of the introduction and use of white bronze mortuary monuments in St. John's, reflecting on their historical, societal, and artistic significance. The rarity of these monuments in the city is attributed to changing societal tastes and the perception of zinc as an inferior material for grave markers.