There can be little doubt that many 19th Century “scientists” were an insane posse of cranks and wierdos who devised ever crazier ideas of attempting to preserve and even create life. One can see that Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, was perhaps not as far fetched as some of the white coated nutters’ efforts.
This piece from the Barmouth & County Advertiser – 21 January 1891 describes a method that had been tried to preserve the dead using Galvanoplasty. It’s just the sort of thing that should have been tried on Blue Peter, or perhaps Blue willy Peter. 😆
Though Albright and Wilson would claim many uses for white phosphorus, I do not think that this was one they have ever previously taken credit for.
Frenchmen Dr Variot had tried this by firstly coating the corpse with silver nitrate. This was then reduced by using a dissolved white phosphorus in carbon disulphide. The vapours given off by this are shown in the video below.
Then it’s copper bath time for the old girl using an electric bath. Variot had calculated that leaving around half a millimetre of copper coating and then further incineration of the corpse leaving some holes would allow for the escape of gases!
A metallic moulded C3P0 statue capturing old Martha would be left behind. I don’t know why the idea never appears to have caught on.