From the Archives

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Do you know what this object is and what it was used for?

jan feb 15

written by Kevin Maclean, Collections Technician, Galt Museum & Archives with special thanks to Keri Rempel from Foster & Sons Jewellers who dated the cup’s hallmarks to 1762.

Do you know what this object is and what it was used for?

Is it a:

a. protective sporting cup

b. feeding cup

c device used to collect honey from beehives

If you guessed a feeding cup, you’re correct!

It’s a “Pap Boat” Feeding Cup (1762 – 1970).

Also known as “Pap Boats”, cups such as these were designed to feed “pap” to babies in place of or in addition to their mothers’ milk. They were also used to wean babies off breast milk. The nourishment mixture “pap” consisted of bread, flour and water. It’s also been reported that drugs were added to the pap to “soothe the baby”.

The cups themselves were made of a variety of materials including: porcelain, silver, stoneware, or low quality metal. Examples made of precious materials featuring elaborate decoration were reserved for wealthier families. This richly-finished, sterling silver cup bears hallmarks, indicating that it was made in 1762.

The Galt’s “Pap Boat” was part of a large collection of objects donated to the Museum by the Galt School of Nursing Alumnae Association in 2014. The collection was housed and managed by the Nursing Alumnae at the Chinook Regional Hospital until it was displaced due to the hospital’s capital expansion. Former Alumnae Archivist Elaine Hamilton identified this “Pap Boat” as an object given to the Alumnae by the late, local pediatrician Dr. Edmund Cairns (1910-2006) – the first Alberta pediatrician to practice south of Calgary. Sue Kyllo, another nursing alumnae member, commented further on this cup, “If a child is having a hard time swallowing or is an easy choker, then they’ll try different ways to feed them.”

Donated to the Galt Museum & Arhcives by Galt School of Nursing Alumnae Association.

P20140006010

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