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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Use of Shaving Cream

Life has been busy.  I apologize for not posting sooner....

So a couple of months back I was doing some work at Find A Grave, when I stumbled upon a biography of one of the volunteers there.  She was dead set against spraying shaving cream on tombstones.  Now I thought to myself, "Well, I am too!  That's just wrong to go around defacing tombstones with shaving cream", not realizing that this is not done as an act of vandalism but as a way of reading the inscription on decaying old tombstones.  In fact, it took me some time for this naive rabbit to find out that many people use shaving cream as a tool to help with transcription.

My initial reaction was, "Well, how silly.  Shaving cream isn't going to hurt anything", but then I got to thinking that I really don't know that for certain.  And so I began to do some online reading on the subject.

I have concluded that neither those for or against the use of shaving cream really have any kind of proof as to its effects. I like to err on caution though and so I will probably not pack shaving cream along on my next visit to a cemetery.

If you'd like to read up on the subject, here are two articles that represent both views:

Shaving Cream: Genealogist’s Friend or Cemetery Conservator’s Foe?
Shaving Cream on Tombstones

And a before and after photo of a gravestone that was cleaned with shaving cream (both pictures taken from

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