Warren McElwain is proud to offer grand funeral vehicles
This is one of the finest examples of a fully restored horse drawn hearse made by “Sayers & Scoville”, who started business in 1873. The company is still in business making funeral cars in Lima, Ohio. This hearse was originally sold to a Moore Funeral Home in Brazil, Indiana, in 1876, where it spent many years until it was sold to Kenneth Ballou, who was an avid collector who also operated a funeral home in Burksville, Kentucky.
In 2006 it was purchased by Jim Larkin and refurbished and the wheels were rebuilt. This involved soaking each wheel for six months in a mixture of 50% kerosene and 50% linseed oil to make the wheels able to withstand regular use. The funeral carriage came to Lawrence in 2013 when Jim moved here after purchasing the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
The craftsmen who built these carriages were known for their skills and techniques. Sayers & Scoville won many awards including at the World’s Fairs in New Orleans and Chicago. The wood was soaked in pure linseed oil for 100 days before any iron was put on, and every hearse was kept for four months after being painted and before being shipped.
In the 1920’s there were hundreds of automobile manufacturers in America and with the general prosperity of the times, many of these companies were dedicated to building expensive cars. The Great Depression put many of these companies out of business.
This 1932 design by Prinzing was adopted by the Rosewood Coach Co. of Morrill, Arkansas. This vehicle has the motor and transmission of a Chevrolet Suburban and meets the air quality standards of California.
Rosewood Coach is owned by Richard Neal of the Neal Funeral Homes; this is the first car built after the prototype was developed and this early support allowed this new business to start production and it has continued to grow.
This 2015 Cadillac hearse is a return to an earlier style of funeral car known as the limousine style which indicates the total use of glass and drapes. It was purchased from Sean Meyers of Acme Livery in Kansas City. Sean and his father own and operate the Armbruster-Stageway Co. of Fort Scott, Arkansas.