“The Soldering Irons I used in Soldering the Coffin of A Lincoln, May 4th 1865 By S S Elder.” Elder heated the soldering irons to melt the small pieces of solder. He then applied the melted solder to the casket to be sealed.
When you are given a job, do you save the tools you use for it? Likely you would only for a significant event–like sealing the coffin of a president.
S.S. Elder, a welder in Springfield, Illinois, was given the duty of sealing President Abraham Lincoln’s coffin before his burial on May 4, 1865.
Elder saved each tool he used to perform the task, eventually preserving them permanently in a shadow box. His carefully handwritten labels describe each tool and document his role in Lincoln’s funeral.
Elder was one of the millions of Americans who realized they were witnessing a unique moment in history. Thousands of people who paid their respects to Lincoln as his funeral train wound its way from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Illinois, saved the ribbons, pins or other mementos from their brush with history. Explore the path of Lincoln’s Funeral Train.