Headstones have changed throughout the years to reflect the change in society and culture. Before the industrial revolution and the growth of technology, monuments were made from marble and were reserved for the wealthy. Everyone else had to use materials that were abundant in their local vicinity. New ways of transportation made other materials easier to obtain and easy to transfer between areas. Soon everyone was able to have a stone monument instead of wood or other deteriorating materials. By 1900, granite became one of the most popular stones for headstones because of its durability against the elements of nature. With the creation of the laser in 1960, laser engraving soon became implemented into stone working and transformed headstone design.
Today, the growth of technology has transformed the monument industry to create unique and creative headstone designs for every price range. Headstones and grave markers can also be created in a matter of days. In fact, if all the supplies and materials are in stock a headstone can be created and shipped within a week.
Computers have also made the process of engraving and etching much easier and more detailed. A computer can quickly scan an image and transfer it to a stone in a matter of seconds. In fact, engravings and designs that took months to create now take only a few hours or days. Even pictures of the person, like a ceramic picture or laser etched portrait, can be placed onto a headstone.
A look to the future shows that there is interest in placing GPS units into gravestones or burial plots to help family members locate their deceased relatives. Special interest in this technology has been shown in cities that have limited amounts of land.
For older gravestones that are in need of replacing, scanners can now scan the surface of the stone and deliver the details of any indentations that may not be visible to the human eye.
Technology today has made the process of designing and creating a headstone much easier than it was in the past. People have access not only to online retailers who are located all over the country, but also to different types of materials, designs, and colors that previously were not available.