Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Undertakers' Supply Co. Catalog

Specialty trades can be mysterious enough without trying to understand the tools they use, the supplies they go through, and the way they communicate these needs to each other. Jargon meant to be exclusive to those in the know, is at times disconcerting to the uninitiated. For example, I have an empty bottle of embalming fluid labeled Frigid Jr. with a picture of a fat healthy smiling baby on it. It is supposed to be specially formulated for babies .... what can I say?

I managed to find a ca 1920 copy of the Undertakers' Supply Co. Catalog. (I've depended on eBay for a long time...) The catalog lists everything an embalmer could possibly need as well as furnishings for the funeral service and viewing. There is a section on special cases, diseases, and conditions that require special treatment, precautions, or materials. Here are a few pages which give one an idea of what early morticians and undertakers were shopping for. 
[for larger views, click on the image]

1 comment:

  1. I have some of these instruments. I have plenty of old suction tips. The brain injection tool, the mallet, the chisel and a couple knives. My brother and sister-in-law bought an old funeral home and converted it into a house. I work as a surgical tech so they gave me a bunch of the instruments they found. They are pretty neat. I would like to find out their value and possibly sell them for the right price.


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