These bottles, that resembled the shape of a banjo, eventually acquired the nickname “murder bottles”.
They were most popular during the Victorian age in the UK because mothers at the time thought that having a bottle which could help their young child virtually feed him or herself was something to be proud of.
With product names like ‘Mummies Darling’, ‘The Princess’, ‘Little Cherub’ or ‘The Alexandria’ giving the bottles an air of quality & safety, mothers at the time could be forgiven for being swept along with the marketing blurb.
However, the hidden dangers were there and over time these baby feeders became more widely known by names such as ‘The Killer’ or ‘The Murderer”.
They were made from glass or even earthenware with a rubber tube running from the nipple to the bottom of the bottle – a perfect device to breed bacteria.
Not only were they were very difficult to clean, but a very popular figure of the time a Victorian “lifestyle guru” called Mrs. Beeton (Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management) was also apparently writing the advice that it was not necessary to wash the teat for 2 or 3 weeks!
Doctors at the time rightly condemned this device, but mothers continued to use them anyway – this was a bad period for infants as only 2 out of 10 would live to see their 2nd birthday.