Brief History of Cremation

  • In general, scholars believe cremation probably began in the Stone Age — around 3000 B.C. based on decorative pottery that has been found.
  • Modern cremation started in Italy a little over a century ago. In 1873 the first dependable cremation chamber was developed. In 1885 the first official cremation took place in Woking, England.
  • The first modern crematory was built in North America was built in 1876 in Washington, Pennsylvania. The second was in 1884 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
  • By 1900, there were 20 crematories in operation including New York, Ohio, Michigan, and California.
  • In 1975 there were over 425 crematories and nearly 150,000 cremations conducted.
  • In 2007, there were 2,113 crematories in the United States that performed 844,202 cremations which is 34.78% of the deaths in the United States.
  • The Cremation Association projects 46% of people will choose cremation in 2015 and almost 60% by 2025.