used in the nursing of infants are among the oldest of vessels; pottery nursers have been found that were used as early as 1500
B.C. Such feeding devices have also come from the excavation of Greek and Roman
graves. Until the 1800s baby-feeding devices were made of a variety of
materials including stone, metal, wood, and pottery (the Indians of
Not all baby-feeding devices were made to accommodate milk. Throughout the years a soft gruel-like substance called pap was fed to small babies. Pap was made of a number of things including ground cornmeal and water with crushed walnuts added. Containers from which pap was dispensed include hollow spoons and boat-shaped vessels with hollow handles through which the pap was blown into the baby's mouth. Other pap feeders were made in a modified teapot shape of metal or ceramic.
In 1864 the
idea of a glass tube stuck through a cork that fit into the neck of a glass
bottle was brought to
first rubber nipple was patented by Elijah Pratt of
In the late
1800's a large variety of glass nursing bottles were produced in the
By the end of
World War II the
Unusual shapes and embossments are the predominant characteristics of glass nursing bottles. Some of the most interesting include specimens shaped like a baby's head, a papoose strapped to the back of its Indian mother, and a baby's shoe. But nonfigural shapes are just as interesting and unusual. Nursing bottles can be found in a variety of bladder shapes with curved necks; others are oval, cylindrical, bulbous, and rectangular. Embossments include lettered brand names and slogans such as "FEED THE BABY" and "BABY'S DELIGHT." Other embossments feature brand designs or pictures of crying babies, animals, fairy-tale characters, and toys.
Most of these containers were made in clear glass or the common aqua or light green glass. Some, however, may be located in varying shades of purple, caused by exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Closures on nursing bottles commonly are the standard cork type or feature a ring of glass over which a rubber nipple is stretched. The closing devices themselves are very interesting. If only the cork and tube types are considered there is quite a variety. Nipples, too, were and still are produced in a variety of shapes.
Co-related items in a nursing bottle collection could include the bottle closing devices and nipples mentioned above. A selection of breast pumps would certainly fit into a nursing bottle collection. The pumps enabled mothers to obtain and store for later use the needed amounts of milk. Nipple shields, also, could be considered an integral part of the nursing bottle collection; these shields were also popular just before the turn of the century. Nipple shields were usually a glass cuplike device, which fit on the mother's breast. From the cup a tube led to a rubber nipple. Though not in direct physical contact with the mother, the baby was able to obtain milk directly from the breast through the nipple shield; such shields were helpful in nursing the teething babies. Of course, teething rings, toys, and other baby items could also be included in the nursing bottle collection.
Although bottle collectors have only recently become interested in nursing bottles, doctors and museums have availed themselves of these containers for years. The early pap spoons and feeders, and vessels of metal and organic materials, are to be found mostly in the few sophisticated private collections and museums. However, today's nursing bottle collector can rely on the fact that as interest grows, more of all types will be discovered and put on the market
This Page Last Updated By Ed Bogucki on 9/12/07
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