When Severus Snape died in the movie “Deathly Hallows Part Two,” Hermione whipped out a long thin glass bottle for Harry Potter to catch his tears. There is no doubt that the importance of that bottle delights some merchandisers who envision pushing a revival of the ‘tear catcher’ tradition. Potter fans’ tears will no doubt be saved by antique dealers who are ecstatic about the prospect.
There has been a long history of tear catchers, also known as lachrymatory or tear bottles. The Bible refers to them. There are references to the Romans and examples from the Egyptians. Based on the association of the bottles with wealth, it seems likely that those with extra denarii would have been able to use them for storing tears.
All classes used tear catchers after the Victorians reintroduced them. The tears of mourners were collected in special bottles when loved ones passed away. Tears were allowed to evaporate through a tiny hole in the stoppers of the bottles. It was a sign that the mourning period had ended when a dry bottle was found.
According to TearBottle.com, soldiers used to give tear bottles to their new wives before they left for duty during the American Civil War. Their wives would, distraught over their departure, capture their tears in glass cylinders, adding more tears as the bereavement continued. When a returning soldier finds the bottle full, he knows his wife has been grieving during his absence. Soldiers’ wives would pour their tears on their husbands’ graves to mark the end of their first year of mourning.
A lot of tears were shed by Aspen’s women during the mining era. The lives of these people were hard and death was common at an early age. The number of women who died during childbirth was high, and the number of children who didn’t live beyond infancy was also high. The life of a widow was fraught with financial challenges because hard working husbands lived short lives.
Four undertakers were needed to keep up with the demand when death struck Aspenites so often. In the summertime, a store on Cooper Avenue did most of the business was E. Turley. The 1890s saw Allen and Wilson on South Mill facing off against one another.During his career as coroner, J. C. Johnsen served for many years. At the end of the century, Belden and Beall bought his business on Main and Mill across from the Jerome Hotel.
Collins Block Building was home to Belden and Beall, which had a prominent location. Like all Aspen’s undertakers/embalmers, they were also involved in the furniture business. Furniture makers’ building caskets naturally led to the combination of the furniture business and funerals.
Funeral homes today sell funeral accessories like auto dealers sell extras for their vehicles. However, Victorian undertakers were not able to take advantage of the fad at the time, leaving jewellers and perfume manufacturers to benefit from the fad.