Cremation, as best as can be determined, began during the early Stone Age around 3000 B.C. in Europe and the Near East. During the late Stone Age, cremation began to spread across Europe as evidenced by decorative pottery urns in Russia among the Slavic people.

Modern cremation actually began slightly over a century ago after the development of a dependable cremation retort (chamber that performs the cremation process). When Professor Brunetti of Italy finally perfected his retort in 1873 at the Vienna Exposition, the cremation “movement” started on both sides of the Atlantic.

In North America, cremation emerged with the construction of a retort in Pennsylvania in 1876.

Crematories soon started in Buffalo, New York City, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit and Los Angeles. By 1900 there were twenty in operation and the Cremation Association of America was founded in 1913. At that point, there were fifty-two crematories in operation with more than 10,000 cremations annually.

In modern times, there are 425 crematories in the United States with more than 150,000 cremations annually.

QUESTIONS & ANSWERSQ:  What is cremation?

A: Cremation takes place in a chamber called a retort. Each retort is only large enough to hold one cremation patient at a time. The retort is heated to a temperature of 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit. This level of heat produces the state of extreme dehydration and evaporation which causes the composition of the body to be reduced to bone fragments. This step takes approximately two hours.

After the retort is cooled, the cremated remains are removed. Any non-combustible materials such as metal are separated and removed from the cremains (ashes). The bone fragments are then mechanically processed into a “fine particle”. Cremated remains for the average adult weigh four to eight pounds. It should be noted that this is an average and depends upon the remains that are cremated.

The cremated remains are then placed into a container, or an urn depending upon the family’s directions. The total time for completion of a cremation process is approximately five hours. Our cremation is a controlled and regulated process which takes place in a carefully maintained facility to insure the dignity and respect of each individual.
Q: Why choose cremation?

A: Simplicity, dignity, environmentally sound, and saves land for future generations.
Q: What is the American Cremation Society?

A: The American Cremation Society is a local, privately owned service organization whose mission is to provide cremation services with dignity. Offering more than seventy years of experience, our licensed funeral directors and funeral counselors will assist you with the best services for your circumstances. One of the appeals of the Society is our convenience. Complete cremation arrangements may be made via mail, telephone, fax or Email; if convenient, you may also visit our office.
Q: What do I do if my family has experienced a death and needs immediate service?

A: Complete the information on the “making arrangements” section of this website and fax it back to us at 773-736-2173. OR….call our 24-hour telephone number for immediate service. Whether you are a member or not, we can service your needs.
Q: How do I become a member?

A: Complete the information on the “making arrangements” section of this website and fax it to us; we need signatures, and thus, a fax is best. We in turn will keep your information on file and furnish you with a wallet card to indicate your membership.
Q: Should I pre-pay the costs?

A: That would be your individual decision depending on your circumstances. It has the advantage of taking care of “everything” so that your family does not have any additional burdens. Also, it helps to guarantee today’s prices for future services. However, as previously stated, pre-pay is your decision. We will maintain your information on file whether you pre-pay or not.
Q: Even though I am having cremation, can I still have a “service” or “wake”?

A: Absolutely. You may have a visitation in our comfortable facility using a rental casket; the cremation will be performed after the viewing and religious service, if any. You may also have a memorial service/visitation where the cremains (ashes) are present and your family and friends gather for a service (which may be a religious service with your clergy).