The first brass memorial plaques appeared in Victorian England. The government used them to memorialise famous people or those who were lost in battle. The original plaques can now be found all over London and have become prime tourist hotspots. Over the past century plaques have become a very common way of memorializing loved ones and can now be found everywhere, from park benches and trees, to flower gardens and cemeteries.
Types of Metal
The most common metals include brass, bronze, and aluminium; however, each material has it’s own positives and negatives. While some are used predominantly outside, others are used as decorations or interior fixtures. Brass is one of the latter.
Precious metals are rarely used as memorial plaques. Not only because they are expensive to produce, but because they pose a greater risk of being stolen. In addition, pure gold and silver is relatively soft in comparison to other materials, which makes it more susceptible to weathering and movement damage. Alloys of tin and copper – such as brass are – are therefore the most common.
The Benefits of Using Brass
Brass plaques are cheap to produce, easy to clean, and look great in almost any surrounding. However, Brass does have some drawbacks. As an alloy of copper and tin it is susceptible to corrosion and oxidation. While regular cleaning can reduce the negative visual effects, it won’t make it immune to the problem.
Because of the oxidation process most people use brass plaques to decorate indoor items. Ash urns and trophies often use brass plaques as they create a smart golden finish that can be wiped clean and maintained with ease. While coated brass is sometimes used outside, it’s not as common as aluminium or bronze.
Alternative Types of Memorial Plaque
Metal memorial plaques are not the only choice for the outdoors. Stone, slate, and wooden plaques can also create fitting tributes. Some suppliers even combine these elements with metal to create a more weather resistant finish.
Slate and stone memorial plaques are usually embossed and painted, which can make them a lot more expensive. The paint, however, can fade over time; therefore regular cleaning and an annual repaint is usually required. Stone and slate memorial plaques are often used as standalone objects, rather than an attachment. They are, however, highly adaptable and look great both indoors and outdoors. Some people even paint them with metallic finishes to give them the look of brass, but without the hassle.
Brass memorial plaques are highly recommended if stored indoors. They will inevitably fade over time and loose their shine – even with maintenance – however, this can add a certain sense of charm and sophistication that you wouldn’t get using other materials. Fundamentally, if you like the old rustic look, then brass is the perfect choice; while if you’d prefer something that’ll shine and look brand new for many years to come, it’s probably best to choose something else.
Image Credit: Welcome Library
Image Caption: A old brass memorial plaque commemorating a special time in history.