Fear of premature burial was a well-documented terror during the 19th century, appearing in such stories as ‘The Premature Burial’ by the American author, poet, editor, and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe, (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849). Published in 1844, Poe may have been influenced by the public advertisement and patent the year before of a ‘Coffin to be used in cases of doubtful death’ by the Baltimore resident Christian H. Eisenbrandt. Fearing premature burial Eisenbrandt invented the coffin claiming that through a series of springs and levers, even the slightest motion of the head or hand would instantaneously open the coffin lid. Poe would also write about premature burial in ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ 1839, where Madeline Usher believed dead, and possibly suffering from catalepsy is buried in the family tomb by her brother Roderick. This is an historical reproduction of Eisenbrandt’s public notice advertising the coffin to Baltimore residents.
Eisenbrant’s Life Preserving Coffin. 1843
Recreation of titlepages with added historical elements. Printed on watercolour paper with archival inks, and packaged in protective sheet. 5"x7"