White bronze, also known as Zinkys

Have you ever heard of Zinkys? You may have come across one or two in your cemetery travels. I know I have, but it has only been until recently that I discovered what these beautiful gravestones are. That is one of the many things I love about my cemetery community, I am always learning new things from my fellow taphophiles.

Zinkys as they are lovingly referred to, is also known as white bronze. They look very similar to carved stone headstones, but they are made from a zinc alloy and are hollow. These monuments were generally less expensive than carved stone, and are a lot more durable. You will often find intricate designs on white bronze headstones, that are still perfectly legible. You can recognize a white bronze headstone by its bluish-grey color, and giving it a gentle tap should produce a hollow sound.

According to Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider, in the United States during the prohibition era, it was claimed that bootleggers would sometimes pry the panels off of these metal monuments to hide their booze.

Here in Canada, the White Bronze Company of St. Thomas, Ontario produced zinkys from 1883 to 1900. It was a child company of Monumental Bronze Co. of Bridgeport, Connecticut.1 According to Connecticuthistory.org, Monumental Bronze Co. only produced white bronze between 1874 and 1914. In 1914, World War I saw the facilities turn from creating pure zinc tombstones to creating gun mounts and munitions.2 After the war, it seemed that tastes had changed, and public demand shifted to other natural materials for grave markers.

These blue-grey markers are truly beautiful in person. They range in size and detail, but I always find myself fascinated by how perfectly intact they are. I have come across a couple of broken ones, where a cross or spire has been broken off, but the names of the deceased are always legible.

Since learning about them, I have kept an eye out for them in my cemetery travels, and have been rewarded a few times this summer. I look forward to finding more in my travels.

Have you come across and zinkys in your cemetery travels? I would love to read about it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!


  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313349405_The_St_Thomas_White_Bronze_Company_A_Diffusion_of_Innovations_Perspective
  2. https://connecticuthistory.org/monumental-bronze-company/

One thought on “White bronze, also known as Zinkys

  1. Stellar history of such a lovely element of headstone design. I have encountered a very small number of zinky’s in my day. The first, eons ago now, came about as I often like to gently rest my hand on the top or side of a headstone and take a moment to reflect deeply on the soul buried under its shadow. While doing so one time, I was surprised (in a “this is really neat!” kind of way) to feel the very type of hollow metal that you described here. I’ve been hooked on hunting for zinkies every since.

    My understanding – and please do not quote me here in the slightest, as I could easily be mistaken – is that zinkies are more common in Eastern Canada than out here on the Western side. Which given that many towns and cities around these parts were either not yet formed or still in their infancy during the Victorian + Edwardian era, makes perfect sense.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    Liked by 2 people

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