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  • Writer's pictureLONITÉ


Updated: Sep 20



  1. Definition

  2. History

  3. The Cremation Process

  4. Equipment in the Crematorium

  5. Technology to Reduce Pollution and Save Energy

  6. What Does It Take to Work in the Crematorium?

  7. Well Known Crematoriums

  8. Other Funeral Places and Types of Funerals


A Modern Funeral House
A Modern Funeral House

Cremation is the process of disposing of a body by reducing it to ashes with intense heat. This process takes place in a crematorium. Most crematoriums have a viewing chamber, or chapel, where family and friends can hold the funeral immediately prior to cremation. Crematoriums are commonly located at funeral homes or cemeteries but are sometimes located in chapels. Most crematoriums are private businesses, however, some are run by government agencies.


Early Crematorium Equipment
Early Crematorium Equipment

In India, before the industrial revolution, cremations commonly took place in the open air with wood, coal, and other flammable materials. The regenerative furnace was developed by Sir Charles William Siemens in the 1850s. Later, at the Vienna Exhibition in 1873, a demonstration of Brunetti's cremating apparatus attracted great attention. One particularly interested party was Henry Thompson, a pioneer of cremation in England.

The Cremation Society of Great Britain was founded in 1874 to ascertain the legality of cremation. This led to the construction of the first crematorium, or crematory, in England. It came into service in 1885. The Protestants were the first practitioners of cremation. It wasn’t until1963 that Pope Paul VI revoked the ban on cremation for Catholics. Since the beginning of the 20th century, cremation has become more widely accepted throughout the world. Crematories are now more common.

The Cremation Process

Cremation Process
Cremation Process

Before cremation, it may be necessary to embalm the body if the family members want to view the body as part of the funeral service. Regulations regarding embalming vary by location. Embalming is usually carried out with fluid consisting of formaldehyde, methanol, and other solvents. Because of the toxicity of the embalming fluids, some families opt not to have a public viewing in order to avoid embalming prior to cremation.

The body is put into a flammable cremation casket and a metal identification tag is attached. The cremation furnace warms the cremation chamber. This chamber is constructed from superior masonry compound and fire-resistant bricks that can withstand extremely high temperatures. The casket is then placed in the cremation chamber. Modern crematories have automatic doors that prevent heat loss, but even with a manual door the cremation chamber is shut and the cremation begins.

The modern cremation furnace is fuelled by natural gas or propane. The main burner is ignited and the temperature within the chamber rises to 1800-2000 degrees Fahrenheit. The entire cremation process takes between 11/2 to 4 hours. This can vary depending on the size of the body, the technology of the cremation furnace, and the type of cremation chamber.

Equipment in the Crematorium

Modern Cremation Chamber
Modern Cremation Chamber

The Combustion Chamber

A combustion chamber usually consists of two parts – a primary chamber and a secondary chamber. The casket with the body inside is placed in the primary chamber. Upon ignition, water contained in the body vaporizes and organic tissues oxidize. Smoke is directed into the secondary chamber at the end of or above the primary chamber. This chamber burns the organic materials released from the primary chamber to reduce air pollution and eliminate the emission of odors and smoke.

Technology to Reduce Pollution and Save Energy

Cremation technology continues to advance and has brought about more efficient cremation furnaces and automated cremation. The latest hi-tech crematories are fully automatic, reliable, and quiet. Operating controls include features to improve usability and reduce maintenance.

A Typical Incinerator
A Typical Incinerator

Features Include:

1. A continuous 24-hour operation that does not require cooling down between cremations

2. Special features such as a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) to cremate obese cadavers

3. Low noise output

4. An advanced air combustion distribution system to control emissions and pollution

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