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In the mid nineteenth century funeral services started to modernize and become more specialized. The profession of undertaker emerged, bodies were no longer prepared at home but relegated to professional morticians. Nowhere was this more evident than in Chicago. The Chicago Undertaker's association formed in 1868 and later the Illinois School of Embalming. Many other mortuary schools, funeral service training programs and funeral related associations opened toward the end of the century. Chicago was the center of funeral related services well into the 1920s.
Embalming started to gain popularity during the Civil War and became the standard by the 1880s. The science of embalming was quickly improving with new products hitting the market every year. This embalming jar was made by The Undertakers Supply Co of Chicago. This jar top was patented in 1931 by Edward Ocasek. According to the 1930 and 1940 census Ocasek was the company's secretary who may have been involved in their wholesale department. We also found a patent filed under his name for an undertaker's operating table in 1936!
This jar is made of thick glass with all sorts of wonderful air bubbles and other great imperfections consistent with old glass. The top is fashioned out of a heavy aluminum with a black rubber insert. This amazing piece of mortuary history would make a lovely vase or keepsake jar.
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