Liz Dennis. THE HISTORY OF EMBALMING. Period 4
The Egyptian Way To Preserve Dead People...NATRON.
The first embalming method was done by the Egyptians through use of Natron.
Natron is a mixture of sodium chloride, sodium sulfate,
sodium carbonate, sodium nitrate, and potassium nitrate. They also extracted the internal organs and went through many religious rituals to properly "mummify" the dead.
WAIT!!! The Egyptians Had A Second Way....
This culture had another impressive method of embalming cadavers. This method included filling the body with cedar oil and later draining the oil to empty the body of internal organs. This method also included soaking the body in Natron to preserve the outside.
WAIT AGAIN!!! They Had A Third Method...
The Egyptians also had a cheaper and faster way to embalm dead bodies. They would simply cleanse the bodies, dip them in Natron, and dry them with cloth. A little less work than the other two methods, but effective none the less.
The 15th Century Method of Embalming...
Leonardo da Vinci created a new embalming method due to his interest in human anatomy. He used a method of Venous Injection. This injection consisted of turpentine, camphor, lavender oil, mercury sulfide, wine, rosin, and saltpeter. This mixture did not prove to be very effective in preservation, but improved the smell of the deceased.
They Were Also Interested Dead People In the 17th Century...
Now this scientist, Gabriel Clauderus, soaked bodies in a new mixture which was one pound of cream tartar and a half-pound of salammoniac in six pounds of water. This was called a "balsamic spirit" and the body was soaked in it for six weeks then dried in the sun.
In The 18th Century Embalming Things Got Weird...
Now, a new mixture of turpentine and camphor was created by William Hunter.
This method was used by a man to preserve his late wife and keep her in a glass case which was displayed in his sitting room. She was removed when he remarried.
Formaldehyde Comes Around...
By the 1900s people began to abandon all other methods of body preservation and use the compound formaldehyde. This became popular because of its low cost, availability, and good cell preservation.
Formaldehyde gets mixed.
This chemical was mixed with methanol, methyl salicylate, boric acid mixed with borax, and others to prevent formic acid formation. This was in attempt to keep the body's balance and pH levels controllable.
Formaldehyde is a major health concern to the living humans in the room.
Glutaraldehyde- Is similar to formaldehyde but has many better qualities. It does not create an ashen look to the skin, begins reactions at a lower pH, creates stronger protein bindings, penetrates tissue more evenly, and makes the bodies look more "alive".
Although this alternative is a better choice than formaldehyde, it has not become common for a few reasons.
1. It is 5-8 times more expensive.
2. Formaldehyde is an excepted embalming fluid.
3.It is more dangerous for the living. (EXTREME skin and eye irritant.)