Museum of Funeral Customs
A mortician's workroom, circa 1928, where the embalming of bodies was done.
Emblaming is the treatment of the deceased to protect the body from decay. Although, it had been practiced as early as 3200 B.C.E. in Egypt, it only became common in the United States during the Civil War when the need to preserve the remains of soldiers for transport back home.
The public began to see the benefits in the late 19th century for both for both funerals and sanitation. It's popularity increased with increased advocacy and shrewd advertising. Now, it is almost unheard of to not embalm a body.