ABSTRACT

For more than a century, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has enjoyed the well-deserved reputation for its leading role in US steel production as well as iron, glass, and coal mining. The names Carnegie, Frick, and Westinghouse still resonate in the public imagination and in popular and academic writing. Less well known are businesses that either did not carry long-term name recognition or eventually moved out of the Pittsburgh area yet were important materially and culturally at particular historical moments. One example is the casket industry. The idea of consolidating large casket-manufacturing firms into a single corporate entity originated in Pittsburgh. This article explores the central role the Steel City played in the modernization of the funeral industry between 1865 and 1910, the formative years of the move toward corporatization.

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