Tag Archives: Funeral Industry

Casket Nomenclature: Hardware

When it comes to caskets there are several major areas one can discuss: materials (exterior design), components, hardware, and design (interior).  In an early entry, I provided information about the component parts of a casket; this post only concerns itself with the hardware of the casket.  


There are two main pieces of hardware (i.e. ornamental fixtures and their fittings) that are attached to the shell of a casket: (1) the handles and (2) the corners.  Production methods for hardware are dependent on the material.  If the hardware is metal, the hardware can be produced in one of two ways: cast or stamped.  Cast hardware is more expensive.  If the hardware is plastic, a plastic extrusion molding method is utilized.


Handle (in white attached to the blue casket shell)

The handle is available in four different styles: (a) stationary, (b) swing, (c) bail, and (d) integrated.  A stationary bar is a non-moveable casket handle.  This can be a full-length bar or individual bars.  A swing bar is a moveable casket handle with a hinged arm.  This can be a full-length bar or individual bars.  A bail handle is a single handle in which the lug, arm, and bar are combined in one unit.  An integrated handle is a handle that is integrated into the side of the casket; there are no attached handles.  This can usually be found on wood caskets.

There four component parts of a handle: (a) ear, (b) arm, (c) bar, and (d) tip.

Ear, Lug, or Escutcheon

(a) The ear, also known as the lug or escutcheon, is the part of the casket handle that is attached to the shell.


(b) The arm is the part of the casket handle that attaches the bar to the ear (or lug).


(c) The bar is the part of the casket handle, attached to the ear (lug) and arm, that is grasped by the casketbearer.


(d) The tip  is the decorative or ornamental part of the casket handle that covers the exposed ends of the bar.



The corners are an optional part of the hardware attached to the four corners of the body panel.  There are several different subcategorical distinctions concerning the corners of caskets: applied and inset, interrupted and end-around (this distinction is an archaic one and slowly vanishing), supportive and non-supportive (this is only for caskets with full length stationary bars).

Applied corners are corners that have been attached to the casket by nail, screw, or adhesive.  Inset corners, on the other hand, involve partially cutting the corner of the casket and making room in which to insert the decorative corner.


Lastly, there are other features that are available on certain models of caskets. They are as follows:

  1. Corner designs – Changeable casket corners; these may be removed prior to the committal service and kept as keepsakes
  2. Commemorative panels – changeable interior casket lid design
  3. Memory safe drawers – a drawer in which one may place notes, special memorabilia, pictures, etc.
  4. Memorial record system – provides a record of identification, if needed, without opening the casket
  5. Cathodic protection – method of inhibiting rust on basic grade stainless steel caskets that involves the insertion of a magnesium bar in a formed channel on the bottom of a casket


IMAGE CREDIT: All images used in this post with exception of those specified otherwise were found on Quizlet or StudyDroid.

All definitions and information were taken from my compendium for funeral practice class at the University of Minnesota:

Mathews, M. (2003). Funeral Service Practice Part I: Services and ceremonies, casket construction and design, survivor benefits. University of Minnesota: Minneapolis.


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Another Funeral Director Meme! Share it!

That is, if you want to of course. Enjoy!

Courtesy of Caleb Wilde

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Filed under Funeral Industry, Humor

Funeral Director Meme. Share it!

That is only if you want to of course.  My thought on the meme: I wish the picture for “What I Actually Do” were different.  Enjoy!

Courtesy of Caleb Wilde

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Filed under Funeral Industry, Humor

Go Underground with Brown!

About a month or so ago (in November) for Funeral Practice I, we went to Brown-Wilbert,Inc. (formerly: Chandler-Wilbert) Corporate Headquarters in Roseville, Minnesota.  They are a vault company with locations throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. 

They told us about their company and how they produce their products (vaults), their customization capabilities, and their cremation/urns merchandise.  It was really informative.  I actually didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did.  I can’t tell you all the specifics because there was so much industrial manufacturing jargon, but I do remember the following:

–They make and mix their own concrete on-site, which is (apparently) rare (almost all other vault companies purchase their concrete ready made from a supplier).

–They patented their formula for the concrete they use and there are only two patents issued for their “recipe.” It’s a ‘7 bag’ concrete (other vault companies use ‘5 bag’ concrete) with 13 gallons of added water as opposed to the typical 18 gallons.

–They make the longest lasting concrete vaults.  It surpassed all previous hydrostatic pressure tests for impermeability and protection from outside elements and can last 1.89 million years according to the company’s most recent 4 year study.  So, they are the only vault company that offers a lifetime warranty on all their products.

I was very impressed with their attitude too; they are very committed to meeting their customers every request down to the last detail.  John told us, “If you want something specific and we don’t offer it then we will find away to make it happen.  We have yet to be unsuccessful in meeting a family’s request in 89 years.”  That was just not something I was expecting from a vault company.  The managers and foremen as well as the other staff we met were great.  The company even provided lunch, shirts with their logo/name and the phrase “Drive safely.  We can wait” (which was part of the (healthcare/deathcare) industries attempt to address and provide a memorable reminder about reckless driving and car accidents especially when the “buckle up” legislation had been enacted), flashlight pens and keepsake urns (heart-shaped) for all of us.

Anyway, all and all I know a bit more about vaults and vault construction.  Oh also, FYI while we’re on the topic:(common misconception) vaults (or grave liners) aren’t actually required by federal or state law; it’s the choice of the individual cemetery.  Cemeteries often require them in order to decrease maintenance cost due to grave sinking as well as other liability issues [such as personal injury on the premises, mixing of graves due to collapsing, damaged monuments].  Anyway, if your cemetery requires a vault, you can choose to use an Orthodox style graveliner (a bottomless vault) or turn a regular vault upside down if you are concerned about allowing natural decomposition.

The next field trip: Northwestern Casket Company.

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Filed under Businesses, Tour, Vaults