This article highlights the development and design of the modern French feeding bottle, created during the nineteenth century, an era in which modern consumerism coincided with the medicalisation of childhood. Three main reasons elucidate this transition: growing concern for children, the failure to abolish wet-nursing, and the rise of the commodity society. Based on hundreds of feeding bottles, advertisements, pharmaceutical catalogues and manuals composed by physicians and midwives, this article analyses the complex relationship between the object, the users, the manufacturers and the socio-medical environment. By examining the feeding bottle from historical, material and visual perspectives, while unfolding the scientific, technological and economic factors that contributes to its design, this article highlights the vast changes that took place in the medical attitude towards childhood, hygiene and bodily functions, as a direct result of consumer demand.
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© The Author 2017.
- Nineteenth-century France