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Historical info?[edit]

Etymology is interesting, but what about the historical relevance of putting bodies in coffins? Does anyone have some good sources on the history of the practice? (talk) 17:34, 22 November 2012 (UTC)


What are specification of an average casket?

Is there any law against burying a human in a cardboard box? (in the United States of America) I heard that some people are buying cardboard boxes and then the whole family decorates it together. But I wouldn't want to be cremated but instead buried in the cardboard box. Is that okay?

I would guess that legal burial containers are defined by state and local law, and thus will vary depending on where you wish to be buried. Suggestion: call a local funeral director and ask. Cryptonymius 06:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Protective coffins[edit]

The following lines had been placed at the bottom of the coffin article;

So-called "protective" caskets, that use a gasket to "seal" the unit after the body has been placed inside, actually accelerate decomposition of the body under certain conditions. A "protective" casket does not preserve the body. No casket, coffin or vault preserves the body.

I rewrote these lines, and moved them to what I think would be a better location in the article. I think there could be NPOV concerns here in regards to protective coffins, so I'm trying to tread lightly here.

JesseG 03:49, Feb 17, 2005 (UTC)

As far as I know his is correct, but there really should be a source for this claim. It is a ground to tread carefully because there are disputes about warranties and such regarding coffins that seal. PollitzerBK (talk) 15:32, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Splitting the article[edit]

Should I split the article into the articles "Coffin" and "Casket (funerary)"? There is a difference between the two! A coffin is hexagonal (like Lincoln's coffin at the top of the page) but a casket is square (like the new American style funeral casket). -- (talk) 20:14, 3 April 2009 (UTC) I'd like to make a change to the coffin article. A coffin and a casket are not interchangable. A coffin is tapered while a casket is a box-- North Americans don't seem to reaize the difference.


I'm not convinced by the definition of "pall" as a coffin during transport. Other sources suggest it's a cloth covering placed over a coffin, tomb, hearse, etc. (Different from a shroud, mind.)

In the Roman Catholic Church, a pall is a cloth (white) that covers the casket as the Mass of Christian Burial begins in the sanctuary. It is part of the rite and recalls the deceased person's baptism.

Absolutely. I've never heard such use. This is probably UL or some twisted misconception.

From Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate: "PALL 1 : PALLIUM 1a, 2 a : a square of linen usually stiffened with cardboard that is used to cover the chalice b (1) : a heavy cloth draped over a coffin (2) : a coffin especially when holding a body." ....though obviously not a sense of the word common in mainstream useage. Cryptonymius 06:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

It's certainly not BrEng usage Diomedea Exulans (talk) 05:50, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

Casket/Coffin distinction[edit]

Well, thanks for that bit in the article. Also the Wake article does distinguish between them ("a coffin or a casket ..."). In Germany, we say Sarg for both - no distinctions. -andy 14:34, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

I have heard this distinction mentioned before during a Discovery program which took a look inside how coffins were made. The commentator stated that despite mixed usage of the word coffins were the hexagonal shaped ones (commonly associated with Count Dracula and Halloween motifs), whereas caskets were the more modern rectangular shaped ones. I had never heard this distinction before which is why I checked here. If anything I would have thought the opposite as the word "coffin" is used much more and "casket" sounds older and more rudimentary - (like a pine wooden crate). It's interesting to learn that casket was a euphemism. Anyone here in the funeral business like to comment? --Acefox (talk) 04:34, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

At the time I worked in the industry (late 1980s), the distinction between a coffin and a casket was that the latter was lined and the former was not. The shape didn't really enter into it, though "coffin shaped" was used to refer to the hexagonal type. You might even hear a particular model referred to as a "coffin-shaped casket." Also, at least at that time, no US State required the use of vaults, though the majority of cemeteries did and often tried to give the impression that there was a law to that effect. The sole function of the vault is to prevent ground subsidence if the coffin/casket deteriorates and collapses. It has never had anything to do with protecting the body. (talk) 23:06, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

IN British English usage, a coffin is the name given to both what are called coffins and caskets in American English - there is no distinction. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 10:50, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

I wouldn't say that contemporary American English makes the distinction, either. It seems to me like it's a distinction mostly made within the industry, and is not at all widespread amongst laypersons. This map seems to back me up on this one. Bardbom (talk) 02:54, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Casket means box, anything from a small ring box up to a full size coffin can be called a casket. Coffin means funerary container. Casket is a euphemism for coffin and there is no real distinction made in ordinary North American speech except that people are more likely to say casket if they are trying to be polite. So the article falls down on accuracy and I think the second paragraph about the distinction is bad and should be edited. Halfelven (talk) 21:38, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. In the US the difference between funerary casket and coffin is usally the difference between "passed/departed" and "dead." There are (mild) connotations of "lining or not," and "wooden or not," "handles or not," and "coffin-shapped or not." But they are not rigorous in the U.S.-- there were "iron coffins" in the 19th century (really expensive ones), just as there are wooden caskets now. The only possible exception to the rule is when all connotative differences are present, so that the fully historical thing is re-created. An old-fashioned coffin-shaped wooden box (straight boards, no curves) without handles and no liner, closed with nails, would probably never be called a casket in this country. Anyone seeing such a thing would say it's a historical funeral coffin, in the same way that an old-fashioned shoulder-fired muzzle-loaded, smoothbore firearm is a musket and not properly (ever) a rifle. Unless you really don't know what you're talking about. Anyway, the lead should probably reflect this blurring. SBHarris 22:57, 10 June 2013 (UTC)


I am planning to remove the section about manufacturers. There are manufacturers all over the world - in vast numbers. WP is not a telephone directory. Does anyone object? Maustrauser 02:18, 11 December 2006 (UTC)


The opening section states that remains are placed in a coffin after cremation. I'd have sworn the remains must go in the box before cremation, and afterwards into a much smaller container, such as an urn...and the Wiki page on cremation appears to concur. Cryptonymius 06:12, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

You are right. Remains after cremation are usually placed in an urn. I've fixed this. Maustrauser 01:19, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

China Casket[edit]

I would like to add a link in the external links section to

My reason for wanting to add this link is due to the increasing influence that china is having on the casket industry. The big US casket manufacturers are up in arms over this new trend thereby making it significant. Furthermore, the casket industry will change forever due to this new china influence.

Does any object to this link being added? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jghiggins (talkcontribs) 11:34, July 14, 2007

I object. If your assertions are correct, please add them (supported by reliable sources, of course) into the article. Simply adding the external link would not support your assertions and seems inappropriate to me. --ElKevbo 15:41, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough ElKevbo. I'll gather the resources together on the influence of Chinese caskets on the industry in the US. I'm assuming if the assertions are supported you will have no problem with adding a link to a site on china caskets?
Cheers! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jghiggins (talkcontribs) 12:21, July 14, 2007
I would certainly have no objections to your using such a website as a source if it's reliable, notable, etc. I am still leery of adding such a link into the "External links" section.
And please remember to sign your posts on Talk pages. --ElKevbo 16:25, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Casket industry[edit]

Is this statement really necessary within this section? "Examples of such showrooms can be seen on the A&E show Family Plots, and the HBO drama Six Feet Under." Because it interrupts the flow of an encyclopedic article. Optikill (talk) 18:26, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

rewrite needed[edit]

This article is a bit a mess. It's very disorganised, pretty repetitious, and despite attempts to the contrary keeps slipping back into seeing modern US customs as universal. Diomedea Exulans (talk) 05:55, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

This passage is particularly awful:
Coffins are traditionally made with eight sides including the top and bottom, tapered around the shoulders, or rectangular with four sides. Another form of four-sided coffin is trapezoidal (also known as the "wedge" form) and is considered a variant of the six-sided hexagonal kind of coffin.
So we have 8-sided coffins (including top and bottom) and 4-sided coffins (presumably not including top and bottom). Then there are trapezoids or wedges which are variants of some 6-sided coffin, which may or may not be one of the previous two (I guess it might be a 6-sided coffin not including top and bottom, wait... maybe it's a 6-sided coffin including top and bottom... wait maybe it's something else...?) I think a diagram would best replace this entire thing, if anyone can figure out WTF it's talking about. Draconx (talk) 21:48, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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