Milk, rubber, white coats and glass: the history and design of the modern French feeding bottle.

Gal Ventura, Jonathan Ventura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite its cultural prominence, the history of the feeding bottle is rarely discussed in contemporary research, contrary to popular deliberations focusing on its material attributes. In order to fill the gap, this article wishes to highlight the various attributes of the modern feeding bottle, created in France during the nineteenth century, an era in which modern consumerism coincided with the medicalization of childhood. Using hundreds of feeding bottles, advertisements, pharmaceutical catalogues and manuals for mothers composed by physicians and midwives, the article examines the design and socio-cultural norms surrounding the modern century feeding bottle, while analysing the complex relationship between the object, the users, the manufacturer/designer and the socio-medical environment. Using a multidisciplinary approach combining social history, material culture and design theory, we wish to portray the modern feeding bottle as a mirror of changing socio-cultural norms and conventions, reflecting the rise of the medicalized and sanitized body, governed by science.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-28
Number of pages21
JournalDesign for Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • BOTTLE feeding
  • MATERIAL culture
  • Bottle-feeding
  • childhood
  • design
  • France
  • material culture
  • medicine


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