Funeral Home Laws
Buying Caskets Online
A Guide to Steel Caskets
Steel caskets come in a wide variety of materials, designs and costs. The type of steel caskets that customers select will determine their value and cost. Generally, steel caskets range in price from least to most expensive according in these types:
Non-gasketed steel caskets typically are manufactured from 20-gauge steel, which is the same thickness used in for car bodies. These steel caskets are spot-welded and are often the least expensive steel caskets available.
Stainless steel caskets are most often square-cornered or square cornered urn designs. New products designs developed in the 1990’s include round-cornered and round cornered urn stainless steel casket designs. Stainless steel caskets often are comparable in price to midrange hardwood caskets and bridge the price brackets between cold-rolled steel caskets and semiprecious metal products such as copper or bronze. Stainless steel caskets have become increasingly popular in the 1990’s and now are purchased more frequently than copper or bronze caskets. Until the 19th century steel was an expensive commodity and only used for a limited number of purposes where a particularly hard or flexible metal was needed, as in the cutting edges of tools and springs. The widespread availability of inexpensive steel powered the second industrial revolution and modern society as we know it. Mild steel ultimately replaced wrought iron for almost all purposes, including steel caskets, and wrought iron is not now (or is hardly now) made. With minor exceptions, alloy steels only began to be made in the late 19th century. Stainless steel was only developed on the eve of the First World War and only began to come into widespread use in the 1920s. These alloy steels are all dependent on the wide availability of inexpensive iron and steel and the ability to alloy it at will.
Steel casket manufacturing, as an industry, did not develop in the United States until the 1800’s. Prior to this time, local funeral directors, then known as undertakers, typically built metal and steel caskets on an as-needed basis as part-time ventures subsidized by their furniture store businesses. By the late 1800’s, metal and steel casket manufacturing began developing into stand-alone businesses. Metal and steel casket manufacturers at that point began operating as local and regional businesses well into the 20th century.