Invalid Feeder - Inventory Number: MED 148
This porcelain invalid feeder or (as it was also called) invalid feeding cup was used to feed invalids who were too weak or ill to sit up. In Victorian times, wealthy families used to nurse sick children, parents and grandparents at home. They bought an invalid feeder from the chemist's shop and used it to feed sick members of the family. Bottom is numbered 3517
Patients drank beef tea, or a mixture of diluted milk and flour called pap. Invalid foods tended to be runny and not very tasty. The invalid feeder was ideal for giving liquid meals to bedridden patients. The food was cooked and then spooned into the feeder. The patient was propped up slightly and drank from the feeder, holding the handle. If they were very weak, a nurse or helper sat next to them and fed them.
Invalid feeders were common in Victorian times and people carried on using them into the 20th century. This invalid feeding cup dates from the first half of the 20th century.
The handle at the side let the invalid hold it to drink. The half-cover over the top stopped the liquid from overflowing. A long spout poured the liquid straight into the patient's mouth so that none was wasted or spilt on the bedclothes.