• 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….

  • 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,…

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

    St. Joseph Abbey’s Monks Battle State Funeral Industry Regulators for Right to Sell Caskets Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune (August 13, 2010) One of the…

  • Casket Trust-busting on the Horizon?

    Consumer Advocates Want More Competition in Casket Market April Dembosky, Marketplace (August 2, 2010) American Public Media’s Marketplace has a short radio segment about a…

  • Sexy Coffin Calendar Showdown!

    Coffin Calendars Are a Sexy Hit New Poland Express (October 16, 2009) via Trendhunter Magazine, “Controversial Casket Calendars” Last October DeathRef tweeted about Italian coffin…

  • Premature Burial Device Patents

    Brace yourself for some library science / classification / database search nerdery… or skip below to see a list of U.S. patents related to premature…

  • Cremating Supersized Dead Bodies

    Bath Cemetery Refused to Cremate Man Because He Was Too Heavy The Bath Chronicle (December 14, 2009) Every once in a while, a dead body…

  • Wal-Mart: Save Money. Live Better. Die Cheap(ly).

    Wal-Mart Offering Low-Cost Caskets, Urns On Its Website Emily Fredrix, Associated Press (October 28, 2009) It’s all over the death-dar: following Costco’s lead, Wal-Mart now…

  • Death Objects on Video from the MN Historical Society

    Minnesota Historical Society Funerary Objects Matt Anderson, MNHS Curator (October 19, 2009) Just in time for Halloween. The Minnesota Historical Society presents the following video…

  • How Dead Bodies Become Beetle Juice

    To Casket Or Not To Casket? One Of America’s Great Field Biologists Thinks About Burial Robert Krulwich, NPR (October 9, 2009) NPR science reporter Robert…

  • Death and the Economy: Unclaimed Bodies Fill the Detroit Morgue

    Detroit: Too broke to bury their dead Poppy Harlow, CNNMoney.com (October 1, 2009) This CNN story on Detroit is heartbreaking. The economic situation in Detroit…

  • Home is Where the Dead Body Is

    Home Burials Offer an Intimate Alternative Katie Zezima, New York Times (July 21, 2009) Tuesday’s New York Times featured a front page article — FRONT…