Sunday, 3 May 2009
How Inventive! (No. 14)
The Egptian Pharaohs famously wanted to preserve their bodies forever, after death. If only Joseph Karwowski had lived 3,000 years earlier! In 1903, this inventive Russian received U.S. Patent No. 748,284, entitled "Method Of Preserving The Dead". Preserving a body by mummification requires laborious preparation and drying of the body, then entombment and isolation in a favorable environment. Mr. Karwowski had a simplier idea: "a corpse may be hermetically incased within a block of transparent glass, whereby being effectually excluded from the air[,] the corpse will be maintained for an indefinite period in a perfect life-like condition, so that it will be prevented from decay and will at all times present a life-like appearance." If the whole body is too big, just the head will do — perfect for displaying your favorite relative on the mantle!
Figure 3 from U.S. Patent 748,284: