by Hannah Snyder Wernecke
I recently stumbled upon this little piece of history about Frank Lloyd Wright and the Clarksburg Casket Company. Spoiler alert: FLW designed three caskets and one of them you can still purchase today! Before I dive into caskets, let me give you a quick summary of Frank Lloyd Wright's life and legacy.
Who was Frank Lloyd Wright?
FLW in 1926
Frank Lloyd Wright is the most famous architect in the world. No, really, if you Google "most famous architect in the world" he shows up first. FLW's designs ranged from affordable housing to glamorous hotels. He was also well-known for his temper, narcissism, and dramatic personal life. Click here for a sensationalized account of his life as only the NY Post can write. Truly a man who experienced the spectrum of human emotion.
Fallingwater vacation home designed for the Kaufmann family of department store fame.
FLW is best known for his work on the 'Prairie style' homes in the Midwest, which emphasized horizontal lines and a connection to nature. He also designed the famous Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania (pictured above), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. He completed over 500 projects throughout his career. In addition to buildings, he often designed the furniture and the fixtures inside. After designing so many objects used in everyday life (chairs, tables, lamps, etc.) it should be no surprise that he would design a casket.
Stay with me here as I introduce not just another Frank but another FLW: Frank Lusk Wilson.
Who was Frank Lusk Wilson?
Frank Lusk Wilson was born on August 7th, 1864, in Pittsburgh and he married Elizabeth Estelle Brown on July 6th, 1899. Frank was 34 and his blushing bride was a 23 year-old schoolteacher (here you can see their marriage application). Together they had at least 4 sons and 3 daughters. In 1906, Frank Wilson founded Clarksburg Casket Co. in Clarksburg, West Virginia—this was a leap of faith after leaving the Freedom Casket company which he had managed for 5 years. For the next century, Clarksburg Casket made a niche in the market with its specialty hardwood casket designs and a number of their designs are still in production today.