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Southern Standard, Columbus, Indiana, January 22, 1853

I’m not surprised these didn’t overtake traditional coffins, they look pretty creepy! The idea was that the bodies would stay in better condition because the coffins were “air tight”. That’s why they had windows – so you could view the face without having to open the casket. Some advertisements called them  “embalming coffins”. They’d also make things a little more difficult for grave robbers. Similar coffins were also used if the person had died from a contagious disease. The coffins came with a door that would cover the face window, and the upraised bit over the chest was a name plate.

From Flickr

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And Archiving Wheeling:

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