The use of the corpses of the convicted to discover the secrets of human anatomy dates back to the 4th century BC, when Herophilos and Erasistratus of Alexandria were given permission to perform live vivisections. The times, however, had changed and criminals were now only dissected after execution. Yet there was a problem..
More lenient punishment for wrongdoings had meant that only around 50 people a year were now being executed. However, the annual demand for bodies to dissect by the growing medical profession surpassed ten times that number. A thriving and historically infamous bodysnatching trade arose. However, those mourning the loss of a loved one soon developed a weapon against this: the mortsafe.
The mortsafe was ingenious: a complex of iron rods and plates descending in to the ground and rising above it.
Above the ground they were weighted either with stone or iron.
First Image Credt Flickr User John Dahl
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