The dictionary definition of a plaque is “a thin, flat plate or tablet of metal, porcelain, stone, etc., intended for ornament, as on a wall, or set in a piece of furniture” or as “an inscribed commemorative tablet, usually of metal [or polished marble or granite] placed on a building, monument, or the like.” In this article, we’ll explore the bronze plaque and the aluminum plaque as memorials and signs.
The Bronze Plaque as a Historical Sign and Marker
The bronze plaque is frequently used as memorial plates for various historical or important locations. Historically, the bronze plaque has been in use for at least a few millenia, and the four Botorrita plaques, discovered between 1970 and 1994, are bronze plaques discovered in Botorrita (Roman Contrebia Belaisca), close to Zaragoza, Spain, dating back to 1st century BC.
This bronze plaque sign was cast in 1982 and commemorates a pre-Revolutionary battle led by Charles and Andrew March, who, with 1200 colonists engaged a band of Shawnee Indians at Point Pleasant (oh, the irony!) in West Virginia on the Ohio River.
The bronze plaque on this Bank of Scotland facility in this picture probably dates back to the 1700′s or 1800′s.
The township of Madison Green, Connecticut, dates back to early colonial days, and the green, or park, houses three war memorial bronze plaques set in either boulders or a cut stone monument. The Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War, are all commemorated by the bronze plaque created for each one.
Cast Aluminum Plaques – Why They’re Becoming More Popular
Now, aluminum plaques are used more frequently as they are less expensive, and the aluminum plaque is easier to cast or mold than bronze. The “Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial” is a new memorial constructed at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. It commemorates the victims of the September 11 attack on The Pentagon, in particular the five individuals from whom no identifiable remains could be found. There are 184 names inscribed in the cast aluminum plaque of those who died in the attack.
Another interesting aluminum plaque were the gold-anodized aluminum plaques place on board the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 in 1972 and 1973, respectively. These plaques were designed to show extra-terrestrial life the origin of the spacecraft in case they were intercepted by alien spacecraft and featured the nude outlines of a man and woman and some other symbols that were intended to help the extra-terrestrials figure out where the craft came from, then blow us to smithereens as depicted in many Hollywood movies.
What the Bronze Plaque and Aluminum Plaque Are Used For in the 21st Century
In our line of business, we’ve created quite a number of the bronze plaque and aluminum plaque signs over the years, mostly for some type of memorial or recognition, but also for address plaques and house number plaques. We’ve also done a number of aluminum and bronze plaques for businesses in areas of town where gaudier signs weren’t allowed, and on older buildings where it just seemed that the bronze plaque was really the only sign that fit the look of the building.
Technology has changed the way some aluminum plaques and bronze plaques are decorated in the past 20 years or so. Although the basic metal plaque is still made in much the same way as the Romans did it 2000 years ago, there have been some technology advances over the past few decades that made it possible to etch aluminum and bronze plaques, add color photos, and create BAS and Photo Relief portraits, Flat Relief portraits, and Glazed Porcelain Photos can all be added to plaques.
Most cast aluminum plaques and cast bronze plaques that are used as signs or memorials are around 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick, but there are also 1/8″ “thin gauge” plaques available now. Copy on the bronze plaque is almost always in relief, or raised. The letters or logos on aluminum or bronze plaques can also be painted, and the background is typically painted with a durable urethane. Other material options for plaques include stainless steel, copper, and brass, although these materials are typically etched rather than cast. Brass can be cast, as can copper, but stainless steel, at this time, cannot be that we’re aware of.
Finally, when it comes to a sign that says your establishment doesn’t cut corners, the bronze plaque or aluminum plaque will say it more convincingly than most other sign options. Click here to find out for more.
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