[Faint of heart, stop here.]
This carefree stroll through the geology of death prep and care comes to us via the Embalmers’ Supply Company (ESCO) catalog, of 1941, serving and selling to members of the embalming profession since 1886. It provides the Practioner with all means necessary to scrape away facial muscle, cement the jaw, seal the eyes, color “old age” eyebrows, fill cancerous cavities, mold over gaping wounds, position the arms, contour the chin, scoop out the brain, replace the blood, pull out the bowels, and all other manner of removal/drainage/fillup, and then apply makeup to cover all suture wounds and other “deficiencies”.
I find the following interesting “quality” products:
Duo-Raa-Co Main Arterial Embalming, Incarnadines the Blood! “For the Main arteries!"
...and now with all risk of “Over-Embalming” totally eliminated!!”
Bruise Bleach (“for black eyes and bruises”)
VEINO Wound Filler
DERMA Lip and Eye Sealer
“CAVOS: For Cavity Treatment! Hard firming…with Lessened Fumes!” and
“CAVOS Cavity Osmosis…with Less Fumes”
VEINO-ESCO-RA-CO (extra smooth arterial “with smoothing filling properties”)
“SUTURE Incision Cement Powder (“for filling large wound & …”)
Then there’s a long solid line of filling, solidifying, non-parting, forming and fragrant ESCO products:
--Hardening and Preserving Compound” but more properly known as a “Drying and Filling” compound
--Fluid Color “for additional internal coloring”
--Dry Shampoo (“For cleansing discolored hair, old-age eyebrows and mustaches”)
--RIGIDINE Mouth Closure (“Use this specific for setting jaws”)
--Modifier Anti-Dehydrant (“Prevents parted lips”)
--Fragrine: “the practical use of Fragrine to the funeral director is wholly and solely in its delightfully fresh deodorizing fragrance!”
--Tissue Filler “for restoring normal contours to shrunken areas”
In addition to the chemicals is a long list of other necessaries (and no sundries), including all manner of scalpels, blades, rubber pants and bloomers, big black rubber gloves, “surgical” tables, spreaders, scoopers, closers, and then of course enormous suturing appliances with huge bobbins of thread.
And such was the American way of death, for some, in 1941.