Collection of Seven Rare 18th Century Pewter Baby Nursing Bottles
Date: late 18th Century
PRICE: $ 2500
Dimensions: H 18cm W 8cm D 4cm
Shipping: $ 85
Probably one of the strangest collection I ever stumbled across. These seven little bottles kept me searching for at least a year. Wondering what they were used for.
Finally I found an answer, these are extremely rare pieces of Chinese baby feeders. Different shapes probably due to the fact they are from different regions or time periods.
They have removable nipple tops on which you can still see teeth marks, with a kind of straw attached to it. The threading is 'the other way around' and hand cut.
I found a European 19th century picture with a very similar looking bottle, but differently shaped, more round and no copper bands, which these do have.
To address the lack of wet nurses who were highly sought-after between the 18th and 19th centuries, artificial feeding became popular. Breastfeeding substitutes based on animal milk also became increasingly popular in order to combat infant mortality, at the time only two out of ten infants lived to their second birthday. Little did they know.
Many mothers, while intending to provide the best for their infants, tragically caused the deaths of their own little ones. The bottles were very difficult to clean so they were perfect incubators for deadly bacteria.
Also the pewter had very a high (poisonous) lead content. The milk by acidifying, ended up attacking and absorbing the metal, thus becoming a serious cause of intoxication for the child.
Solid bottles made from pewter, despite the high rate of mortality that they caused, were used until the 19th century. Despite Doctors condemns of the bottles parents continued to buy and use them.
The bottles eventually earned the nickname; "Murder Bottles"
These heavy seven pewter bottles vary in form and height, the smallest measures 13.5cm (5.3inch) the tallest measures 18cm (7.1inch).
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