Your Guide to Funeral Planning | 11.27.2022

All You Need to Know About Traditional Coffins

All You Need to Know About Traditional Coffins


Cross Checked By: JOSHUA SIEGEL

Today, the traditional coffin has witnessed a transformation in terms of its appearance and infrastructure into the modern casket. Since it is difficult to find traditional 1700s-style coffins in the market, there are several wooden caskets made to feel like a traditional coffin readily available for you to purchase online. If you are curious to learn more about what traditional caskets are and where they stand today, read on

What is a coffin?

The word “coffin” is hardly used in the United States since most people simply say “casket”. Such nomenclature serves as a gentler way of speaking about the container holding the body of a deceased loved one. A coffin may be defined as a container designed to keep the body of a deceased person for their funeral service. The oldest meaning of the word, derived from Latin, is cophinus— which translates to ‘box for valuables”. Coffins are traditionally made of wood but can also come in steel or fiberglass. Similar to a casket, it is used during the viewing of the body and the burial ceremony. However, unlike a casket, the coffin has six sides with a wider top compared to the bottom. 

Traditional Coffins

The traditional funeral coffin is classy and respectful looking. They are easily identifiable by their flat tops, unusual shape (wider at the shoulder and slimmer down the head and toes) and unassuming finishing. Traditional coffins may also have raised lids and wreaths. 

The classic hexagon-shaped coffins were used primarily in the Northern American colonies till the 19th century. They were thought to be modest and made exclusively of wood. However, their design witnessed rapid transformation after the American Civil War (1861-65). The sheer carnage and brutality of the war left people seeking ways to honor all lives lost through beautifying death. This resulted in alterations made in both the name and shape of the coffin. The new caskets were grander, and their name became a euphemism for containing something precious. While a lot of American caskets remained six-sided for the longest time, they eventually moved to the four-sided casket. The traditional coffin is a wooden coffin. 

What are Traditional Wooden Coffins?

The manufacturing of a traditional wooden coffin is a unique process compared to other casket carpentry. There are some parts of the world that continue with skilled carpentry specialization to construct elaborate coffins. For instance, in Italy, there exist master craftsmen that hand-build them. In Ghana, there continue to be craftsmen that construct traditional coffins in elaborate shapes like that of birds and animals. In the United States, however, the undertaker usually constructs caskets. These caskets are most commonly made of steel by large automated plants. You may still find outlets to purchase wooden caskets. Today, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the species of wood you would like your casket to be made from. Be it cherry, ash, mahogany, maple or elm— they are polished and designed beautifully. 

When and How to Get the Perfect Traditional Casket

At Titan Casket, you can find that perfect vintage place of rest for your loved one. We provide an expansive selection of wooden caskets, starting at $999. Each model in the range comes with a description to assist you in finding the perfect wooden casket. If you are searching for the perfect traditional coffin, then purchasing a hardware casket may be the ideal option for you. They retain much the same modesty and simplistic appeal of the traditional coffins, and offer additional hardware and interior options. The caskets come in standard and oversize dimension options. You can also choose the wood type, color, finish and design you like. These minimalistic caskets are hand-crafted, and their manufacturing is labor-intensive. Resultantly, you must make sure to place your order enough in advance to get your casket in time.