Monday, February 17, 2014

Facts and Fiction - Baby Bottles in the 1920s

Like many of the books in the Dime Store Novel series, the book I'm currently writing is set in the 1920s -- 1921 to be precise. Writing in the past presents a challenge for a stream-of-consciousness writer like myself. Just when the story is flowing, the images are clear in my head, and the words are pouring from my fingertips, that nag who lives in my left brain will shout out. "Are you sure it looked like that?  Did they even have that in 1921? You didn't live there, how would you know?"

And so I stop writing and head to Google or Bing or whatever search engine decides to present itself first. I don't know how writers survived before the Internet. The libraries must have been full of pajama-clad people with wild hair. And what about when the doubt struck at 5 AM or 2 AM?  Oh right...that's why we had index cards and sticky notes.

Anyway, back to my story. Such an event happened just a few days ago. I was chuckling away at how funny it was going to be to have Regan try to feed a bottle to a baby who'd only ever sucked at a breast. Regan --the party girl, already pooped on and now this. When suddenly I realized I had no idea what a baby bottle looked like in the 1920s.
Wedgewood Feeder, circa 1820

And so I searched. I learned an awful lot about the history of baby bottles that morning. Did you know that baby bottles have come in various shapes and sizes?  That the feeding vessels made of pottery have been excavated from graves dug more than 3500 years ago?  That the rubber nipple wasn't even patented until 1845 and wasn't of much use until 1900?
Allenbury Feeder
I finally came across the Allenbury Feeder, which had two holes: one for the nipple and the other to fill the bottle. Supposedly this was a more sanitary solution than the earlier feeders, which were difficult to clean. Banana-shaped feeders like this one were developed in 1894 and the Allenbury Feeder was popular in the 1920s. In fact, it was sold up through the 1950s. So it fits in fine with the timeline. It also works with the story because Regan will have no idea how to use this thing. I love when fact supports the fiction.

If you're interested in learning more about baby bottles, here are some links I found.
History of Nursing Bottles
The History of the Feeding Bottle
Baby Bottle, Victorian-Edwardian, Original

1 comment:

  1. PepiSmartDog: This is really interesting! Who knew baby bottles looked like that, "back in the old days"? My 3 kittehs always shout out: "Are you sure that's right" Well when the food is being put sure that;'s the right amount? Sure it shouldn't be more? BOL! Thanks for supporting Thankful Thursday Weekly Blog Hop and hope to see you this week too. :=o)