Friday, June 29, 2007

A Glass Tombstone


A glass tombstone; that is certainly something unique. Such a grave marker stands in but one place in the United States, and that is the cemetery overlooking the city of Kittanning, Pennsylvania. It has but recently been set up there, over the grave of Mrs. Elizabeth Pepper, of Ford City, by her son, Matthias Pepper.

Not one of the piles of marble and granite attracts so much attention as the piece of polished glass, with clear inscription, which stands on a gentle slope falling slowly from the hilltop.

Matthias Pepper, who had the glass set up, is assistant superintendent at the Ford City factory. The piece used as a grave memorial is a part of a large plate which was made of unusual thickness for the construction of circular panes to cover the portholes of ocean steamships. The practical indestructibility of glass was its quality which suggested to Mr. Pepper its use in the cemetery.

Marble and granite seem to many to be almost eternal in their hardness, but they are far from it, and not at all to be compared with glass. Wind and rain, heat and cold have their effects on stone of any kind, and finally wear away the hardest granite and cause it to crumble. Go into any old graveyard, where stones were erected more than one hundred years ago, and it will be found to be the exception where all the lettering on the monuments can be made out. The stone has crumbled and the outline has been obliterated. No such effect is produced by the weather on glass.

The Pepper monument is of plate glass one inch thick, a foot and a half wide and four feet high. It stands in a mortise cut into a cube of sandstone. The top of the glass is arched. The lettering on it is made by the "sand blast" process, and is distinct. The monument bears this inscription:

In memory of Elizabeth Pepper, of Ford City. Died February 4, 1892. Aged seventy-seven years.
Also William Pepper, husband of the above. Died ——. Aged ——.

From this inscription it may be inferred truly that William Pepper is still living.

This new use for plate glass is likely to become extended, for it has many things to recommend it. The transparency and purity of the material are suggestive and appropriate. It is easily and quickly etched, its cost is not great, and in durability it surpasses any other available material. — Pittsburg Dispatch.

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