there are other tribute options available in the marketplace.
I am more than happy to mention them to you along with their
Web addresses so you can review them for yourself. Due to
copyright restrictions I cannot offer sample photos of their
work, but photos are available
on their Web sites.
published the following via a press release. “October
3, 2005: Lasting Memories™. Matthews
International Corporation is introducing
Lasting Memories™ a new line of cast bronze memorials
that offers unmatched personalization with the durability
only cast bronze affords…Matthews perfected a process
that combines the art of casting with the use of photography
to reproduce finely-detailed photo images on cast bronze
memorials.” This is similar to what's offered by Innovative
Signs. I invite you to visit the Matthew's Web site and look
closely at their enlargements of some Lasting Memories™ plaques.
thing I want you to note in their statement - “...durability
only cast bronze affords.” Bronze is a very good and
durable metal, but 316L stainless steel (see Galvanic
Corrosion Table) is lower on the corrosion table,
and titanium is even lower. In addition, bronze will oxidize
causing a darkening of the piece’s patina. There's
more about oxidation on the Titanium page.
The following question from a gentleman writing Finishing.com
highlights this point.
13, 2004 - I am also looking for a product or a method which
will allow me to clean and restore two bronze grave markers
of the type given by the VA to veterans. One has been on
the ground for 27 years, the other only 18 months, but is
still deteriorating or dulling. Walter Moe - bronze grave
markers - El Dorado Hills, CA, US”
point here being that bronze will oxidize and must have protection.
Bronze sculptures, for instance, must be waxed fairly frequently
(twice a year) to retard the natural oxidation darkening.
“Typically, bronze only oxidizes superficially; once
a copper oxide (eventually becoming copper carbonate) layer
is formed, the underlying metal is protected from further corrosion.
However, if copper chlorides are formed, a corrosion-mode called "bronze
disease" will eventually completely destroy it.”
Signs produces what they call “Engraved
Bronze using a Photo Relief image”. Their work
looks good. We can achieve much
finer detail however on stainless
steel or titanium, but we cannot produce a relief.
Recently they introduced full color images on engraved
plaques. I wrote and asked if these were suitable for
continuous outdoor exposure. Here is their response. "Thank
you for your inquiry. The color on the engraved plaques
are guaranteed for 15 years." We later found out
they use a dye sublimation process. I won't go into
technical details, but photos using this process fade.
The process would be especially vulnerable outdoors
in direct UV.
not familiar with Matthew’s pricing structure, but
Innovative Signs has a price guide. Let me use the tribute
I did for my mother that appears on the opening page. Her
tribute has quite a few letters. If I got that same tribute
produced in bronze using recessed lettering it would cost
That cost is based on the price guideline found on their
Web site. Why the high cost? The lettering. There’s
a $2.00 charge for each 'recessed' character. They said the
smallest character they could reproduce was about 1/8" which
equates to 13 pt. Times New Roman. We've imaged 4 pt type
and can go smaller. That's not really practical, but we can
do it. If Matthews has a similar cost guideline then you
probably don’t want to say much about your loved one
on a bronze plaque. We will do all the
lettering you can fit on one Immortal Memories™ tribute- no per
manufacturers we've reviewed do etch bronze. Plaques&Letters distributes
products by Matthews Bronze and Gemini. Following are two
quoted paragraphs from their Web site.
Signs & Letters
etching process allows you to replicate your photograph,
line drawing or complex artwork. This method utilizes a halftone
dot pattern made from a 50-line screen. Halftone portraits
resemble newspaper photographs, and have visible dot patterns.
The recessed dots are black infilled to contrast with the
satin finished metal background.”
Bronze Plaque Etched Portraits Appliqués:
This process utilizes a halftone dot pattern acid-etched on .100" thick
bronze plate. The etched, recessed dots are infilled with black to
contrast with the satin-finished background. The best photographs for
etched portraits have high contrast tones with bright white areas,
dense black areas, and minimal gray tones."
read that both companies etch the bronze then fill the voids
with black. The black is a pigment. Black usually doesn't
fade if its carbon based, but down the road that pigment
will release from the surface. Maintenance becomes a valid
issue. Matthews uses a patented coating called Diamond
name might lead you to believe something you shouldn't. It's
clever marketing, but the coating, as we were told by an
industry insider, is lacquer based. We go over the uses of
lacquer on our Coatings page.
Another company prefers a baked on coating. We've worked
with them all. That coating is probably a powder coat. Technologists
at Dupont told us, as did our applicator, that all the powder
based clear coats had a tendency to yellow after a few years
exposure to direct UV. They are organic based, so their life
expectancy is comparable to other clear coats. These would
be very good for an indoor application.
is another issue. Gemini says they use a 50 line screen,
about what they use on silk screen T-shirts. Newspapers use
an 85 line screen. Magazines use 133- 150 line screens. There
is a big difference. Please read our Image
Resolution page. The density of the image also
makes a difference. On their Web site Matthews recommends
72 - 300 dpi images. We've experimented with 300 dpi images.
They work well, but we use 1,200
dpi. They work better! The
line screen is the key element. We use 133 lpi screens.
stay away from having to use pigments to produce contrast
we developed a different technique. It is very time consuming.
In fact, preparing and etching bronze is more difficult
than etching titanium.
don’t get me wrong. I think Matthews, Gemini, and Innovative
Signs do beautiful work in their selected
media. Our work uses different techniques.
course there is an
option you might consider if you really do like the bronze
look. You can incorporate an Immortal Memories™ Tribute
in a bronze plaque. That way you can get a high resolution
photograph along with a lot of text for a much more reasonable
price. The metals can be
placed together based on the Galvanic
left is a computer generated rendition of a bronze plaque
fitted with an Immortal Memories™ tribute. The piece
in the rendition is one I did for my father. I scanned his
photo from a very old
It was an 8” x
10” black and white taken back in 1947 showing him
standing next to his car at a gas station. His head was very
small in relation to the overall picture, so I had to interpolate
it electronically up to a usable size. It actually came out
extremely well if you could see the actual piece.
mother’s photo, front cover, was also extremely old,
but it was a full head shot. No interpolation was needed,
so the photo came out very well. I would like to mention
that photographs of these pieces do not do them justice.
you like a bronze/Immortal Memories™ Tribute combination
I'm sure we can help get that accomplished. Just get in touch
using our contact form.
photo at right is my grandmother’s flush bronze memorial.
I did a small tribute with her photo and text and installed
it on January 27, 2006. The look is subtle and unobtrusive.
Now instead of the few words on the bronze one can get some
understanding of the person who lived on this earth from
1900 - 1981. A picture
is worth a thousand words can never
have more meaning unless you can add some meaningful words
to that picture. I hope in some small way I have given my
grandmother an element of immortality.
bronze commemorative would probably not look that good in
a home. They are too monument oriented. You could always
commission a bronze sculpture, bust, or bas-relief. Roman
emperors did that quite often. The cost would be quite high,
and unless you had the right type of display venue, it would
look a little out of place. But it is an option.