• Radically Extending Life and Choosing to Die

    Living to 120 and Beyond: Americans’ Views on Aging, Medical Advances and Radical Life Extension Pew Research Center (August 2013) If new medical treatments could…

  • Unclaimed Dead Bodies and the US Economy

    No funeral money? What to do By Geoff Williams, U.S. News & World Report (May 30, 2013) What’s worse than dying? Maybe dying broke. It…

  • Live Free or Die…in a Hand Crafted Benedictine Monk Casket Part II

    Louisiana Monks Go to Court to Sell Their Caskets Robert Barnes, Washington Post (May 30, 2012) Not very long after God told some at St….

  • Prisoner Cemetery for the Unclaimed Dead in Texas

    Texas Prisoner Burials Are a Gentle Touch in a Punitive System Manny Fernandez, New York Times (January 05, 2012) At a cemetery in Texas, murderers…

  • More Americans Choosing Cremation to Save Money

    In Tough Times, a Boom in Cremations as a Way to Save Money Kevin Sack, The New York Times (December 09, 2011) If current American…

  • Cook County Gives Unclaimed Dead Bodies a Two Week Notice (sort of…)

    Under Recent Policy, Cook County Begins Donating Unclaimed Bodies after 2 Weeks Cadavers that are left in morgue are given to medical research Becky Schlikerman,…

  • The War On Death

    Death and Budgets David Brooks, New York Times (July 15, 2011) Much of the budget mess may stem from a deep cultural antipathy toward recognizing…

  • No More Big Dead Tombs in China

    As China’s Income Gap Grows, Tombs Are a Target Sharon LaFraniere, The New York Times (April 22, 2011) Since 1997, official policy limits the size…

  • Donating Dead Bodies to Save Money

    Donating Body Can Save Families Money Dan McFeely, The Indianapolis Star (February 08, 2011) A short post on a perennial topic for the Death Reference…

  • Brain$…Brain$…Brain$

    Donate Your Brain, Save a Buck Gary Stix, Scientific American (January 4, 2011) Hard times are making tissue donation more appealing   The Great Recession…

  • Body Fishing Up Ahead

    This story has affected me in a way that many others about death have not. The complete and utter sense of tragedy permeating it is…

  • Coffin Making: Now with Barcodes and Touch Screens

    Bringing the Coffin Industry Back From the Dead
    How barcodes and touch screens are resuscitating a casket factory
    Ben Austen, The Atlantic (December 2010)

    Modern, industrial casket making is a manufacturing business like any other, but for the fact that most people never think about modern, industrial casket making. The above article in The Atlantic does an excellent job of capturing how American casket making has become a largely automated industry, similar to the auto business.

    This article is also about changes to the American labor force but in a decidedly niche business. It turns out that the American casket industry is suffering from many of the same problems faced by manufacturers all across the country. You can read about many of those death and dead body industries in the Death + the Economy section.

    Out of curiosity, I went to YouTube to look for casket/coffin making videos and found the following vintage 1970s film. The YouTube video is actually instructive because it shows how the casket industry used to manufacture caskets before the introduction of the automation technologies.

    Bringing the Coffin Industry Back From the Dead How barcodes and touch screens are resuscitating a casket factory Ben Austen, The Atlantic (December 2010) Modern,…