A History Of Caskets And Their Cultures
Caskets In The Past
Caskets were invented around the 19th century. Maybe that’s why we've all been introduced to the idea of caskets at a very early age. You may be surprised at this but take a second to think about all the fairy tales we’ve read as children. Snow white resting in a casket or Aurora pricking her finger and laying in a casket are narratives that we’ve come across and stored in our brains as memories.
Death is a part of the natural process of human existence. It’s always interesting to read more about how practices came about and what was before and how we know and see them today.
Caskets are funerary equipment, and containers, that carry a body and are used to bury or cremate the deceased. They are rectangular in shape, unlike coffins that are hexagonal.
The Utilization Of Caskets
It has been studied that caskets came into existence in the 19th century. This is, of course, written and recorded proof. Some believe that caskets have existed since the time of the Mesopotamian dynasty. According to this belief, caskets were made out of wood, cloth and paper in the sarcophagus style. This style was later picked up by the British Isle and Celtics who started to use flat stones to make caskets. This can be dated to around 700 AD.
Jumping to the 19th century again, caskets were simple constructions that had detachable lids. Morticians would make caskets on a need basis and help out family, friends, and acquaintances in arranging a funeral for their loved ones.
As a practice, people would ritualistically bury or cremate their loved ones according to religious customs and norms.
As time passed, coffins and caskets were made to look presentable in a way that would show respect for the dead.
Studies also show that caskets were used for and by the wealthier sections of society whereas the rest of the people would use simple boxes to cover the bodies of the deceased.
Caskets In The Modern World
With the end of the 19th Century, came the booming industrialization period. This meant that caskets found a reason for mass production; something that was unheard of in the previous eras. This was a visible shift, especially at the time of the Civil War when there was a need for mass production of caskets. At that point in time, casket-making became an industry practice with manufacturers and developers entering the scene and creating business opportunities for themselves. When it came to materials, caskets were still cloth-covered wooden containers.
This is when Batesville Casket Company came into the picture. In 1918, the Batesville Casket Company pioneered the first steel casket at a mass-production level. The techniques used to produce steel caskets helped in building a new wave where “indestructible” caskets became the norm. Other independent casket manufacturers started to produce steel caskets in the United States and worked with locally sourced and manufactured materials to build the same.
With World War II and the Civil War taking place, using caskets to transport the bodies of fallen soldiers and deceased became a common practice.
In 1940, Batesville and other manufacturers decided to use cardboard caskets instead of wood or steel in an attempt to conserve steel and wood during the war. This measure taken didn’t last for too long. In 1948, casket manufacturers shifted to using steel again, bringing back this trend noticed in 1918. By 1960, every manufacturing company had virtually shifted to exclusively building steel caskets.
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Caskets As We Know Them Today
Although steel caskets took over the industry post-1940s, today we can find different types of caskets in various materials. Wood, metal, cardboard, and natural materials like wicker, bamboo, pine box, etc, are being widely used and bought.
Caskets have evolved to meet your needs including making changes to the size, color, interiors, and shapes too. You can choose to set a theme for the casket and have it customized to something meaningful and respectful.
Finding a trustworthy place to buy a casket from is important. If you’re looking to buy a casket online, you could consider getting one from Titan Casket. Most online retailers today provide free delivery and customization options.