Great Invention Idea? Preserving the Dead in Display Cases

Halloween lovers my third, and last, spooky patent pick of the year has got it all: dead people, mummies and burning flesh! In fact, the burning flesh part is the most curious, because according to the “experts” the invention simply cannot work due to this unfortunate outcome. But who cares?

As my recent research into the world of Patents Gone Wild has shown me, patents aren’t always about functionality and promoting the interests of mankind, they are often about people with half-baked ideas validating their ineptitude to their more brilliant colleagues.

One night, in 1903, in a scary, far-away place called New York, Joseph Karwowski developed, while working in his laboratory, a new Method of Preserving the Dead. (The previous sentence has been dramatized for the purpose of Halloween). It seems in a moment that can only be explained as some kind of divination spurt, Karwowski looked into the future and saw — Evita.

United States patent 748,284 calls for encapsulating a corpse by pouring hot, molten glass all over it. One can safely assume, thanks to the “experts,” that all this would accomplish is adding to the poor dead person’s troubles by sizzling their skin off. But such bourgeois matters are of no concern in the pursuit of mortuary science. No! Instead, Karwowski explains that this patent “has for its object the provision of a means whereby a corpse may be hermetically incased within a block of transparent glass . . . so that it will be prevented from decay and will at all times present a life-like appearance.”

So there you have it. A corpse that looks so good you’ll want to keep it at home next to the passé ashes of your grandmother!

Happy Halloween!

Elizabeth Valeri
Guest Blogger