The Evolution of American Funeral Homes
The passing of a friend or a loved one is an event that we inevitably experience in our lives. In modern times, it is customary that we honor the life of that person, as well as the legacy that he or she had left for one last time. This is formally done through a funeral ceremony. In today’s time, the best and most economical ceremony can be availed at our company, www.gentrygriffey.com.
But when exactly did this tradition of final service for the deceased began? According to researchers, animal antlers and flower fragments have been found next to corpses of Neanderthals dated 60,000 years ago. This information suggests that funerals have been around since the olden times. It is indeed in the nature of man to pay final respects to the dead. In this article, we, from www.gentrygriffey.com, will discuss a brief history of how funeral homes came to be today.
Funeral homes in the United States have a long, rich history which can be traced back to 1759. Anthony Hay of Williams burg, Virginia created the first funeral home, which was originally a cabinet manufacturing business. People like Hay are called “undertakers” because they undertook the duty of arranging funeral services. The undertakers are usually furniture makers and they created the very first coffins in the world.
Until the middle of the 18th century, American families tended and cared for the dead bodies of their loved ones.
They were the ones who dressed and displayed the bodies during funeral services. Because old American houses are spacious and the families invest in formal rooms, they can accommodate guests in these rooms during the funeral arrangement. Additionally, the burial plots were located within the property of the families.
The Civil War, however, gave birth to embalming in the United States. The war called for the preservation of the bodies of the deceased soldiers so these can be sent back to their own families. Moreover, the public generally accepted embalming when President Abraham Lincoln’s embalmed body was used for his travelling funeral. This gained the favor of the people and as years went by, the simple embalming of dead bodies turned into a real career. In fact, US Physician Dr. Auguste Renouard introduced the basic concepts of the embalming methods today.
It is also during this period of time when the burial occurred not in the family graveyard anymore, but in a park-like setting of a cemetery we now know. The United States was also successful in building military cemeteries in honor of the fallen soldiers, a tradition still practiced today.
Years passed by and the undertakers are what we know now as morticians and directors of funerals. By 1890, almost 10 thousand funeral directors were distinguished. Dubbed as the beginning of the “modern funeral”, people started to realize the significance of funeral homes. There had been an increase in the shifting of home-stationed funeral parlors to the professional setup. Moreover, the funeral directors did not have to go to the very own homes of the deceased, but instead can operate in their very own facilities.
Funerals have become great businesses in the 1900’s. In fact, almost 24 thousand funeral homes have existed in 1920 alone. The funeral directors back then could access proper exercise and training for the various services which they can offer. Flower arrangement, life insurance and casket creation bloomed in the industry.
The coffins also evolved to caskets. In 1950, it is reported that almost 700 companies in the United States alone manufacture cardboard or wood caskets covered in cloth. However, when metal caskets were introduced to the market, several large companies dived into the business and caskets officially moved in the place of coffins.
Fast forwarded, cremation rose to fame in the United States because of its affordability, saving a huge amount of money compared to the traditional burial. Despite receiving criticism, in 2015, cremation actually surpassed the burial on being the top choice of Americans when it comes to funerals. With this, many funeral homes have adopted this service, but ours from www.gentrygriffey.com still stands out among the rest.
Funeral homes have developed greatly throughout the years. Various competing companies rose to the market, but our service from www.gentrygriffey.com remains to be the best. We continue to provide the warmth and comfort through our family-oriented services and we believe that families should focus on relieving the grief over the death of a loved one rather than worry too much about the funeral details.
Funeral homes will continue to evolve in the future. Together with our loving customers, we are ready to create the future.
To know more about funeral chapels and cremations, visit www.gentrygriffey.com.