8 Development of Embalming by n9P0aK


									Customary Aspects of Preserving the
Customary Aspects of Preserving the
Customary Aspects of Preserving the
• Growth of methods from the European
  continent through the Colonial period.
  – Nobility and high ranked people used to be
    the only people who lay in state (reference
    Chapter 3).
• Important individuals involved in
  development of embalming were
  physicians, surgeons, and barber-
• Limitations of embalming.
  – It was not accessible for everyone mostly
    done for Nobility & Church Leaders.
  – Little was known about preservation.
• Methods.
  – During the 18th century, because body
    preservation techniques were unknown they
    deteriorated to “sawdust and tar” level.
– This was in part because during this period
  embalming was lost exclusively by the
  people in the healing arts.
   Impact on Growing Cities
• The need appeared for embalming as a
  consequence of the inability of the
  poorest urban classes to pay funeral
• The body remained unburied and
  without the benefit of funeral
  ceremonies until the money could be
  raised and paid for the services
  – How do you feel about the body being held
    until the family has the money for burial?
    Impact on Growing Cities
• The impulse to give the dead a “decent
  Christian burial” has always been
  present in Western Society.

• Do you think that this is still a driving
  force for the funeralization of our society
   Impact on Growing Cities
• In the early Colonies a great deal of
  importance was attached to being
  gathered together (not only to but with
  our fathers).
• The traditional impulse to gather beside
  the bier of the departed relative was
  apparently not diminished by the
  distance separating one family from
   Impact on Growing Cities
• Upon the death of a dear friend or
  relative colonists would set out on what
  might be several days journey to
  participate in the funeral, comfort the
  immediately bereaved, and share in the
  social gatherings which automatically
  followed the get-together of scattered
  realities and friends who seldom met
  except on an occasion such as this.
• There is an obvious connection to our
  lives and social view of funerals today.
   Impact on Growing Cities
• Now, in order to have these gatherings
  take place, it became necessary, in many
  instances, to use whatever preservative
  methods were available at the time to
  stop or retard the putrefaction of the
  corpse while the funeral was delayed
  because the funeral would have lost
  most of its significance without a corpse
  as the central figure.
• What does this then say about
Varied Methods Used Before the 19th
• Several crude methods were invented-
  – Disemboweling and filling the cavity with
  – Immersing the body in alcohol.
  – Wrapping the body in a cloth soaked in
    alum, or “sere sheet.”
• Most of these methods should sound
  familiar because they had been done
 Varied Methods Used Before the 19th
• One interesting note is that in a letter
  dated 1773 to a Barber Dudourg, Benjamin
  Franklin anticipated cryonics by nearly two
• It was speculated on the possibility of
  embalming in “wine.”
“I wish it were possible from this instance to
  invent a method of embalming drowned
  persons, in such a manner as that they may
  be recalled to life, however distant.”
 Varied Methods Used Before the 19th
• Why do you think he was only interested in
  the “drowned” persons?
• Lord Nelson was returned to England from
  Trafalgar in a barrel of rum….
• A need for preservation produced a number
  of ingenious efforts to find a satisfactory
• Why do you think they favored alcohol?
 Varied Methods Used Before the 19th
• The stories of embalming “in” alcohol were
  not few.
  – Nancy Martin, age 27, died at sea. Her father
    didn’t want her buried at sea so he “thrust” her
    body into a cask of alcohol and returned her to
    her home country.
  – Even when the body was sent elsewhere for
    burial, it was encased in a metal container,
    usually of lead, soldered air-tight, and again
    encased in an outside coffin of wood.
   Role of preservation of the Dead in
            the 19th Century.
• Embalming was done in part because it
  was a reliable method for transporting the
  body greater distances.
• As people moved further and further away
  from their “home” they still wanted to be
  buried at “home”.
• This need became the driving force behind
  the move to American Embalming.
   Corpse Coolers and Cooling Boards
• In May, 1846, two years before the Fisk
  Metallic Burial Case, two Baltimore
  undertakers Robert Frederick and C.A.
  Trump, received a patent for a
  “Refrigerator for Corpses.”
• Three years earlier, the first “corpse
  preserver,” based on the principal of ice
  preservation was granted to John Good of
   Corpse Coolers and Cooling Boards
• From the Description of the Frederick and
  Trump innovation on pg. 200 what were
  the problems:
  – Wetting the body (more susceptible to
  – Some designs were lost because of the space
    needed and the amount of ice to preserve.
  – It was discovered that the trunk or abdomen
    and chest was the only area that needed to be
    frozen what about the larger individuals.
 Corpse Coolers and Cooling Boards
• So they created the Corpse Cooler:
 Corpse Coolers and Cooling Boards
• Worked on the principle of ice
• The body was laid out on the cooling
• It was a concave metal ice-filled box
  which fit the torso.
  – It was equipped with a lid, spigot, and
  – It was made of zinc and wood.
• After the embalming table was invented it
  was still called a cooling board for a quite a
  long time.
• Advantages
  – portable
  – economical
  – could be used after the body was dressed
  Shortly before the funeral the body could be
    removed from the cooler and placed in the
    coffin to preserve the most lifelike appearance.
• Disadvantages
  – messy
  – water dripped as it melted
  – ice needed changing
• Other Alternatives:

-Corpse Preserver
Howard V. Griffiths
Altoona, PA~1870

-Corpse Refrigerator
Charles Kimball
Quincy, MS~1868
  (as used in
    city morgues)
       Airtight Receptacles
• With the introduction of airtight
  receptacles an increase in emphasis on
  preservation embalming grew in
• From the last chapter you remember
  that the “air tight” receptacles were
  created for the purposes of:
  – Preservation
  – Protection
  – Aesthetic Presentation
       Airtight Receptacles
• A new corpse container appeared:
        Airtight Receptacles
• Patented in 1863 by Dr. Thomas Holm
  – It was an invention that was designed
    specifically for battle use in “the carrying of
    badly-wounded dead bodies hurriedly
  – “Deodorization” substances were introduced
    by way of aperture and a tube for the
    purpose of preserving the body for a short
  – After the body was inserted a large draw
    string drew the opening together…..
      Chemical Embalming
• Influences on development
  – More effective preservation for anatomical
  – Provided for a longer viewing period
  – Added element of disinfection(remember the
    disease factor: Smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet
    fever, yellow fever, etc.)
  – Civil War- How do you think the Civil War
    had an influence?
      Chemical Embalming
• Dr. Richard Harlan
  – Professor of Comparative Anatomy at the
    Philadelphia Museum.
  – Member of the City Health Council (Health
  – Journeyed to England to observe and study
    the methods of epidemic disease control.
  – While there became acquainted with
    leading figures in medical and sanitary
      Chemical Embalming
• Dr. Richard Harlan
  – Embalming as a sanitary measure
    impressed Harlan.
  – When he returned from England he
    translated from the FRENCH Mons. J.
    N.Gannal’s History of Embalming. And had
    it published in Philadelphia in 1840.

  – Now with history and technique in hand,
    what can you imagine is going to happen?
      Chemical Embalming
• Dr. Valentine Mott
  – Commented in a pamphlet:
  “If you connect in your meritorious plan, the
    practice of Mons. Gannal of Paris, of
    injecting blood vessels with an antiseptic
    fluid, the whole system of preservation will
    be more fully carried out.”
 Evolution of Techniques,Materials,
• All poisonous materials were used
  – bi-chloride of mercury
  – zinc-chloride
  – various arsenic-based
• Techniques
  – Hand pump
  – Gravity pump
  – Trocar
• Dr. Thomas Holmes
 – “The Father of American Embalming”
 – Born in New York City in 1817
 – Presumably graduated from the College of
 – Later practiced as pharmacy and
   experimented eclectically with a variety of
   drugs and compounds.
• Dr. Thomas Holmes
 – Recognized the compounds used as
   poisonous and injurious to the health of the
   students dissecting the cadavers.
 – Within his studies of mummy heads from
   Thebs he concluded that embalming
   without the use of poisonous substances
   was possible.
 – He began work on developing fluids that
   were intended to be sold to surgeons,
   anatomists and undertakers who under this
   tutelage would have learned the art of
   arterial embalming.
• Dr. Thomas Holmes
  – Because of the “exhibition” he was he was
    arrested on the charge of “creating a
    nuisance for his embalming activities in the
    heart of the city, and was held to bail of
  – His reputation as an embalmer sky-
    rocketed with the embalming of Colonel
    Elmer E. Ellsworth, the first ranking
    casualty of the war. (he was shot while
    defending the Flag in Alexandria.)
• Dr. Thomas Holmes
  – President Lincoln invited the viewing into
    the White House’s East Room where
    Cabinet Members, Leading Officers of both
    services, Senators and Representatives
    along with Distinguished members of the
    Community came to pay respects.
  – Mrs. Lincoln:
  “the face of Ellsworth was natural, as though
    he were sleeping a brief and pleasant
• Dr. Thomas Holmes
 His claims to fame:
 – At the age of 76 reported that he embalmed
   4,028 soldiers and officers, field and staff.
 – Presumed to have embalmed the body of
   President Abraham Lincoln
   • Used the femoral artery to embalm.
 – Commissioned as one of the embalming-
   surgeons of the Civil War.
• The Civil War was the first war to see
  embalmers waiting and working in camps,
  on battlefields, in government hospitals and
  in nearby railroad centers to serve the needs
  of the military and families of the fallen.
• Because of the number of embalmers
  operating there was a lack of definite, full
  and uniform regulations governing
  embalming personnel….which led to abuses.
• Dr. Richard Burr
  – The bad apple!!!!
  – Was charged with fraud and attempted
  – Because of the charges and endorsement
    was issued…
    “All permits for embalming-surgeons within the
      lines of the armies against Richmond have been
      revoked and the surgeons ordered without the
• “Order Concerning Embalmers”
  – Issued in March 1865 by the War
  – Forced an examination and licensing of
  – All embalming was done for a uniform fee
    (including services and merchandise.)
   Embalming Devices, Fluids and
• J. Anthony Gaussardia
  – Received the first patent for arterial
    injection of a chemical compound.
  – He was not concerned with viewing, just
  – As an embalmer, which will you be most
    concerned with? Is it really possible to do
    both well?
Embalming Devices, Fluids and
Embalming Devices, Fluids and
• St. Clair’s Patent
  – Immersed the body in plaster of paris and
    hydraulic cement.
  – Parts of the cadaver punctured with tubes
    coming out so that the gases could escape.
• The Civil War
  – Before the war, embalming was done for
    anatomical purposes.
  – After the war, embalming was done for
    preservation and family viewing.
  – Cavity embalming was done post Civil War
    with a trocar.
• Definition of a trocar- an
  elongated hollow needle, sword-
  like object through which fluids
  might be injected into and
  throughout the trunk cavity of
  the dead human body.
 Role of medical practitioners
• What was the importance of medical
  practitioners in embalming?
• Preserving anatomical remains aided
  the development of embalming fluids.
• Anatomical research aided in the more
  efficient arterial embalming.
• Chemists assisted in the development of
  effective fluids.
   Development of Schools and the
       Spread of Embalming
• Role of chemical manufacturers
  – Provided traveling salesman to promote
    their chemicals.
  – Provided training to those who purchased
    their embalming chemicals.
  – Provided warehousing of chemicals and the
    development of chemicals.
 Introduction of Embalming Schools
• Separation from chemical companies.
• Improvement of quality of instruction.
  Key Persons in mortuary science
   education in the 19th century.
• Auguste Renouard- opened the
  Rochester School of Embalming in 1882.
• Dr. Richard Harlan- he translated
  Gannal’s history of Embalming into
• Joseph H. Clarke- he added an
  embalming school at the Pulte Medical
  College in Cincinnati, OH.
• A. Johnson Dodge- he opened the Dodge
  School of Embalming in Boston, which
  was superseded in 1910 by the New
  England Institute of Anatomy, Sanitary
  Science and Embalming.

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