The spread of embalming came to be popularly accepted after the Civil War and led to emergence of funeral industry. Before, the dead were handled by the family of the deceased within their homestead. Home parlors were the area where people would view the body. These days everyone uses funeral parlours for this purpose.
Though there were different methods available for prolonging decomposition before the 19th Century, the process of embalming was chosen during the Civil War to preserve dead soldiers while awaiting shipment back home. Widespread of embalming saw the number of funeral homes rise.
In the late 19th Century, embalming was embraced as the standard method of preserving the dead, and bereaved families began appreciating practice of a modern funeral home. This allowed for better preparation and presentation of the body before the family, relatives and guests in more formal setting thereby facing out home parlors.
Business & Professionalism
Initially, undertakers used to live and handle the bodies at the premises with a helping hand from their families, but evolution and revolution of both the industry and career raised the ethics and standards in running this business.
For instance, creation and establishment of formal training impacted the undertakers with vital skills necessary to carry out their duties as well as run the business. Today, professionally trained medical experts, morticians substituted the former. Other industries that cropped up alongside were casket manufacturers, life insurance firms and florists. Culture and traditional belief resulted to diversity in services rendered in various communities and countries.
Along the way, cremation gathered popularity and there was growing fears that the business could be obsolete. This is because cremation implied that there was no viewing of the body or embalming. However, it called for immediate change of strategies like subcontracted crematoriums or designed and constructed cremation facilities. Later, allowed viewing of bodies before cremation.
Despite the majority of funeral homes being independently family run business, there is growing corporate model in the industry.