This antique baby nurser dates back to at least 1902, because I know it was used by a certain relative in my father’s family who would now be 113 years old. There were fourteen children in that family… three older children born to the father and his first wife who died when those children were very young… and eleven more children born to the father and his second wife. I am sure this nurser was used by more than one of those babies throughout the years.
The black rubber nipple was long gone by the time this nurser was given to me, but the black rubber stopper and some of the other rubber fittings were still on the bottle, although in a very crumbly condition. The rubber parts have since deteriorated even more, although the glass tubing is as good as new. The bottle itself is in perfect condition and is made of a light greenish-blue glass… there are a lot of air bubbles in the glass, and it is obviously hand-blown. The bottle has no seams and no corners, and the contoured shape is comfortable to hold. The bottom of the bottle is flat, and the angle is such that it looks like a baby could drink from the nurser without anyone holding it. I wonder if that was the reason for the flat bottom.
There are raised letters saying “Manhattan” on the top side of the bottle, but I have never been able to find any information about a company of that name. When I looked in a reproduction copy of the 1902 Sears catalog, I was surprised to find a fairly wide selection of similar baby nursers. These drawings and descriptions are from the catalog. The brand is different, but the fittings look similar to the ones that were on the nurser I have. I can only imagine how difficult all those glass tubes and rubber parts would have been to keep clean!