Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alone & Unsupervised With Access to a Computer 2

Great Moments in Science & Technology #2
Electroplating the dead (1891)
"Dr. Varlot, a surgeon in a major hospital in Paris, has developed a method of covering the body of a deceased person with a layer of metal in order to preserve it for eternity. The drawing illustrates how this is done with the cadaver of a child. The body is first made electrically conductive by atomising nitrate of silver on to it. To free the silver in this solution, the object is placed under a glass dome from which the air is evacuated and exposed to the vapours of white phosphorous dissolved in carbon disulphide. Having been made conductive, the body is immersed in a galvanic bath of sulphate of copper, thus causing a 1 millimetre thick layer of metallic copper to be deposited on the skin. The result is a brilliant red copper finish of exceptional strength and durability."

Sadly, not a joke. See Victorian Inventions by Leonard De Vries and Dear Dead Days compiled by Charles Addams (where I first encountered this image).

1 comment:

betweenreader said...

Seems quite feasible to me, except for the scale of the project -- in jewelry making, this would be electro-forming. Great blog entry, found through Quigley.