Next door to the Casket Handle Assembly Shop was the Vacuum Coating  Shop. This workshop only seems to have come into existence in 1963 when Newman Brothers bought a second-hand vacuum coating machine. This machine was used to put a metallic finish on plastic products. The switch from inhumation to cremation was accompanied by a switch, enforced by regulations, from incombustible to combustible coffin furniture. Newman Brothers responded to this change by buying in plastic handles made to their own designs, and then giving them the desired metallic finish using their own vacuum coating machine.

This item is in the following Themes:

Death Industry & Manufacturing Commerce

A bit about the process

Vacuum coating is a process of coating one material with another, usually applying one metal to another in order to protect it from damage or give it properties unique to the metal coating. The two materials are then placed in a vacuum chamber so that the process can be controlled easier and also so there is less chance of the process being contaminated by unwanted gasses.

When the two materials are in the vacuum chamber the metal being used to coat the other is applied using one of two main methods. If the metal is in the form of a solid or liquid it is vaporised and applied in a thin, even coat to the receiving metal.

This is called ‘physical vapour deposition’. When the metal being applied is in the form of a chemical solution, it is likewise vaporised and applied to the receiving metal in a thin coat but this process is called chemical vapour deposition.