As they say there is nothing more certain in life than death and taxes. But what about after you die? Unless you are someone very famous, such as a king, queen, famous artist, author or scientist, your remains are likely to be lost to humankind within a few generations. Grave markers, even some of the oldest in England are from around the 17th century and most of them that age are unreadable. So, what if you chose to be cremated? Well, at least you would have been saved from the worms, but why do people keep those earns on the mantel over the fire, which fewer houses have these days, and who do they give them to when they die. While you may see photographs of unknown people in the antique stores, I have yet to see anyone’s ashes for sale.
This has been a problem for quite a while and in 1927, Albert Vanderlaan of New York thought he had the perfect solution:
What I propose is to go a big step forward and by a simple, yet strange to say never practiced process to safeguard the human ashes forever and beyond peradventure of mischance against loss or mutilation.
My method consists of incorporating the ashes integrally in material of a permanent character and molded or otherwise fashioned into an integral object, such as a tile plaque, object of art or, in fact, an object having any arbitrary size, shape and form desired. For instance, the ashes may be mixed with clay in suitable proportions and the mixture molded and fired into suitable forms, which, in addition, if desired, may be covered with colored glazes, thus obtaining further security as well as lasting embellishment. By combining my method with the best available contemporary art, indestructible objects of veneration and beauty will be created which for thousands of years to come will remain intact and historically indicate the progress of civilized man.
What would be more appropriate or decorous than that the ashes of men of genius or enterprise should be placed in the form of a plaque in a part of their works to which they devoted their lives?
I have here for instance, in mind, builders of bridges, tunnels, dams and other large achievements. For the less conspicuous workers equally appropriate places could be designated: those religiously inclined could find a place in their favorite house of worship and the outdoor man's ashes could be placed in the side of a hill or rock overlooking the field of his action.
Much productive land which now is set aside for the perpetual preservation of human remains could become available and, in my estimation, a finer sense of reverence would be developed.
Tests have shown that 1/2 pound of animal ashes will be readily absorbed by a clay tile 6" square by 1/2" in thickness without in any way affecting the strength or durability of the tile. The weight of animal ashes obtained by cremation is 3% of the live weight, so that the remains of a person weighing 200 pounds would yield 6 pounds of ashes, which could be assimilated in as few as twelve tiles or in a plaque measuring 1'6" wide by 2' 0" in height. By mixing the ashes in slighter proportions, the plaques could be enlarged to any dimension desired.
So, we could have a chip developer’s hall of fame somewhere, full of chips. What do you recon? Or perhaps they would be collected like trading cards – swap you two designers for a verification engineer!Brian Bailey
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