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Customary Aspects of Preserving the Dead Customary Aspects of Preserving the Dead Customary Aspects of Preserving the Dead • 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- surgeons. • 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 expenses. • The body remained unburied and without the benefit of funeral ceremonies until the money could be raised and paid for the services rendered. – 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 today? 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 another. 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 cremation? Varied Methods Used Before the 19th Century • Several crude methods were invented- – Disemboweling and filling the cavity with charcoal. – 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 before. Varied Methods Used Before the 19th Century • One interesting note is that in a letter dated 1773 to a Barber Dudourg, Benjamin Franklin anticipated cryonics by nearly two centuries. • 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 Century • 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 preservative. • Why do you think they favored alcohol? Varied Methods Used Before the 19th Century • 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 Philadelphia. 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 decomposition). – 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 refrigeration. • The body was laid out on the cooling board. • It was a concave metal ice-filled box which fit the torso. – It was equipped with a lid, spigot, and handles. – 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 reputation. • 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 away.” – “Deodorization” substances were introduced by way of aperture and a tube for the purpose of preserving the body for a short time – After the body was inserted a large draw string drew the opening together….. Chemical Embalming • Influences on development – More effective preservation for anatomical studies – 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 Department). – Journeyed to England to observe and study the methods of epidemic disease control. – While there became acquainted with leading figures in medical and sanitary science. 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, etc. • All poisonous materials were used including – bi-chloride of mercury – zinc-chloride – various arsenic-based compounds • Techniques – Hand pump – Gravity pump – Trocar Innovators • Dr. Thomas Holmes – “The Father of American Embalming” – Born in New York City in 1817 – Presumably graduated from the College of Physicians. – Later practiced as pharmacy and experimented eclectically with a variety of drugs and compounds. Innovators • 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. Innovators • 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 $300.00. – 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.) Innovators • 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 sleep.” Innovators • 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 extortion. – 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 lines.” • “Order Concerning Embalmers” – Issued in March 1865 by the War Department. – Forced an examination and licensing of people. – All embalming was done for a uniform fee (including services and merchandise.) Embalming Devices, Fluids and Techniques • J. Anthony Gaussardia – Received the first patent for arterial injection of a chemical compound. – He was not concerned with viewing, just preservation. – As an embalmer, which will you be most concerned with? Is it really possible to do both well? Embalming Devices, Fluids and Techniques Embalming Devices, Fluids and Techniques • 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 English. • 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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