What Is the Process of Cremation?

When you are considering cremation for yourself or know that your loved one would like to be cremated after they die, you might be curious about the process of cremation itself. After all, it can be difficult to make a decision about something you may not fully understand. We’re here to explain each step of the process so that you know all the facts and can feel more comfortable about what really happens when you or your loved one chooses cremation.


The History of Cremation

Beginning with a brief history of cremation may help bring context to a tradition that’s practically as old as time itself. Scholars today generally agree that cremation began during the Stone Age (or around 3000 B.C.) in Northern Europe. Evidenced by findings of decorative urns in western Russia, cremation spread across northern Europe during the Stone Age and through the Bronze Age to Spain and Portugal. By 27 B.C. during the Roman Empire, cremation was a widely practiced tradition throughout Europe. Cremated remains were stored in detailed urns within columbariums dedicated to the deceased.


The Advent of Modern Cremation

Cremation as we know it today, however, began only a little over a century ago in Italy after many years of development for a dependable chamber. After a long hiatus in cremation as one of the most widespread forms of disposition due to religious and health reasons, a new movement in cremation began after the perfected model created by Professor Brunetti was displayed at the 1873 Vienna Exposition. 


In 1876, the first crematory in North America was built by Dr. Julius LeMoyne in Washington, Pennsylvania. Crematories began to spring up around the country and by 1913, after the foundation of the Cremation Association of America, there were 52 in use in North America. By 2019, around 55% of deaths (or around 1.5 million deaths) used cremation for disposition in the 3000 crematories around the United States. 


How Cremation Works in the Present Day

At Prasser-Kleczka, we have been operating our on-site cremation center since 2014. We use a process of cremation that ensures that it is performed in the most respectful and dignified manner possible. Here are the steps that we take: 

  • The body of the deceased is cleaned and dressed.
  • The deceased is identified and we obtain proper authorization for cremation. 
  • The body is prepared and placed into a proper wooden container.
  • The container with the body is moved into the retort (an industrial furnace designed to hold one body).
  • After cremation, any metals are removed and the remains are ground into ashes.
  • The remains are transferred into a temporary container or an urn that the family provides. 


Why Choose Cremation

Because the process of cremation takes between 2-3 hours, it is considered more efficient than a traditional burial. The cremation usually results in between 3-9 pounds of ashes, and you can be assured that only one body is cremated at a time as multiple-body cremations are illegal in the United States. In fact, at Prasser-Kleczka, you can view the process from within our witnessing room. This is available to you for religious purposes or for peace of mind. You can always be sure that our accommodations are clean, well-maintained, and dignified. Your comfort is always at the top of our minds.


We Can Help You Decide

With either in-ground burial or cremation, there are processes that affect the body– heat for cremation, and decomposition for in-ground burial. Whichever process is right for you is entirely up to you and your loved ones, and we are here to help facilitate your choices. Funeral directors, technicians, and other staff members are always available to assist you with any questions you may have throughout the process, and we are here to support you and your family with whatever decisions you make. Feel free to call us to talk more about cremation and the services that we offer. 


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