The History Of Crafting Headstones

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 1:45:08 PM America/New_York

Graves and tombstones have been devices of human culture since time immemorial. The wide variety of objects that primitive peoples used as markers for the burial sites of their kin can scarcely be enumerated.

In fact, one of the primary ways by which we know the world of the past is through their burial rituals and markers such as headstones. Of course, the vast majority of such markers have been erased by time.

Either they were made of wood and other soft materials, or later generations effaced them. However, the Poulnabrone Dolmen in Ireland and other large stone structures meant to serve as primitive headstones have survived.

The Medieval Headstone

The stonemasons of the distant past were severely limited in time, methods and materials. If they lived in a region with soft rock, they made soft headstones that eroded quickly.

As the stone had to be carried into place by the power of man and animal alone, they tended to be smaller and made with local materials. However, some areas contained a happy coincidence of quality rock and quality stonecutters, and their headstones survive to this day.

The famous cemeteries of the Merovingian region of France are excellent examples. Even though the graves and headstones are over a thousand years old, they have survived a rainy and cold climate with remarkable fortitude.

Headstones in Victorian England and Civil War America

Many of our modern attitudes about death stem from the 19th century, and it was then that regular headstones became common.

The battlefield graveyards of the Civil War paved the way with their endless wooden crosses, and soon after the dead of America were memorialized with stone versions of the same thing. Granite became the preferred material during this era.

Maine was particularly well known as a region with plentiful strong rock for making headstones, convenient shipping lanes to transport them, and many skilled masons with the expertise to cut them correctly.

This era also saw many thin, rectangular headstones of regular size, which is a fashion that has fallen out of style.

Headstone Production in the 20th Century

As with most technologies, the 20th century served as a bridge between the fabrication methods of the past and the future.

At the beginning of the century stones were still cut by hand, polished by old techniques that left the stone open to erosion and decay, and severely limited by the stonecutter's ability to move them. They were made by local handymen and not subject to any sort of quality controls whatsoever.

The century saw rapid codification of methods and techniques, focused around the military cemeteries of World War One and Two, and machines began to be widely employed to cut and finish the stone with perfect regularity, even in complex shapes.

The Modern Headstone

Headstones today are often designed by computer and cut entirely by machine-assisted methods.

This gives nearly unlimited versatility in shape, features and materials. Headstones now have previously unheard of properties of weather resistance and other amazing advantages. In all ways modern headstones are superior to the headstones of the past.

Posted in News By

Scott Steckman

Create Your Loved One’s Customized Headstone

At Legacy Headstones it is our goal to provide you with the tools you need in order to create the perfect headstones for graves that honor your loved one. Legacy Headstones has been a family run business for almost 100 years so we understand the importance of a legacy. Creation and design of headstones may have changed over the years but one thing has not, our family tradition. We are proud to have our two sons Shane and Dustyn to carry on the craft of providing people with quality headstones at affordable prices.

We understand that it is always hard to lose a loved one, and we hope that Legacy Headstones can make choosing the right memorial as easy as possible. Our free memorial designer is easy to use and helps to ensure they you are able to create the perfect headstone for the departed. It really is simple, just choose the style of headstone you wish to customize, then use the designer to add anything you wish such as a family name, favorite quote, or even an image. Our designer gives you the opportunity to continue your loved one’s legacy and pass it on to future generations!


As the name implies, it's called this because it is usually placed at the head.  Also Headstones usually face the east

Read More


In todays economy everyone is looking to save some money.  Maybe no one would think of making there loved ones headstone!  Do it Yourself Headstones just think of it.  With website you can design a gravestone just the way you want it.  

Read More

We have many traditional holidays in america, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, forth of July, etc. etc. .  But Thanksgiving is a holiday that is about giving thanks for our many blessings as a nation and as a people, enjoying family and friends and eating some good food!  This Thanksgiving do something for someone, even if you don't know them.  You will be blessed for it.

Read More

The tradition of funerals and burial history has been diverse throughout the thousands of years that humanity has existed. While a certain reverence and respect for the dead has been paid in most parts, there are many methods in which this process was carried out. 

Read More

Whether you call yourself Christian, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, there is a common thread that binds all people on this earth, and that thread is the reality of death. There is a reason that all religions have a dedicated ceremony specifically to respect the people who have moved on beyond this life. However, even people who do not consider themselves religious have an internal compass that naturally points to respecting the dead. These ideas may not be crystallized, but they are certainly there. 

Here are just a few of the reasons that it is in your best interests to respect the dead even if you are not religious.

Read More

Pets and children are a natural, loving combination. A pet's departure is often a child's first real experience with death, and parents can use the occasion as a teaching moment about the cycle of life and learning how to cope. Telling a child a pet has passed away is a difficult, but very important discussion that is best done in a familar and quiet space. The Child Development Institute offers helpful tips on how to accomplish this constructively.

Read More

Losing a pet is never an easy thing to have to deal with, especially when you have become used to their comfort and love, and the process for grieving for a lost pet is often a painful one to bear, but did you know that in most cases, it is completely illegal to bury your pet in your own yard if you do not own the property yourself? Many people do not know this, and it can cause some serious problems if the land owner decides that they are not comfortable with you having buried your pet on their property. So what do you need to know about making sure that you have the legal ability to inter your beloved animal friend? Here are a few key points to keep in mind if you have the unfortunate task of finding a final resting place for your pet. 

Read More

Tips for purchasing Headstones for Graves

  • Check your local cemetery regulations, about the gravestone size, dimension, and the gravestones they do not allow. For example, some cemeteries only allow granite and bronze headstones.
  • Decide the material, design, and inscriptionthat you want on the marker. You can go through various samples and choose the shape, style, and design of the gravestone you want, depending upon the nature and interests of the deceased.

    Furthermore, you can personalize the tombstone by getting a meaningful symbol or photograph etched on it. Besides, you can buy a pre-need monument for yourself. **Make sure you check and re-check your design for any errors, because once it is engraved on the gravestone its forever!**

Read More

Telling a child in college about the death of a family member is never easy, especially when the student is miles away from home or in the middle of midterms. In addition to the emotional upheaval devastating news of a loved one’s passing can create, campus life and classroom obligations can bring undue pressure and a conflict of commitments. Your student may feel torn between the obligation to complete important assignments and tests that could impact their future and the need to rally around family during their time of loss.

Read More

After a loved one has passed, it can be difficult to determine where to spread their ashes when it's time to say goodbye. Many family members or friends are often left to question the best location due to a lack of specifications that were made by the deceased individual.

For those who are looking for a place that will honor their loved one, there are a few factors to consider during the process and to have proper closure.

Read More