Tuesday 8 May 2012

Early Japanese Banjo Baby Feeder (& Packaging)

An interesting parcel arrived in the post a few weeks ago from India.  This was my first time buying something from India and I wasn't sure how fast and safe the Indian postal system was going to be.  Oh boy, was I in for a surprise.  Not only did it arrive quickly (faster than a lot of my parcels from the US and England) but I had never received a parcel quite like this one.  It was wrapped in cheese cloth which had been sewn up around the parcel.  This was then sealed at no less than 13 places with sealing wax, all along the stitching.  Wow what a fantastic looking parcel.

Rear of the parcel showing stitching and sealing wax
 (Name & Address removed for security reasons)

Needless to say, I wanted to keep the packaging probably as much as wanting to see what was inside.  So here I was, like a surgeon carefully removing stitches as gently as possible.  I managed to open one end of the parcel and carefully slide out the contents.  The surprises kept on coming.  Inside was a metal tin wrapped in bubble wrap.  And inside this was my new baby feeder all wrapped in more bubble wrap.  Oh, and I forgot to say that this feeder was actually sent post free.  This parcel could have fallen out of the delivery truck and still have survived.  It was that well packed.

The cheese cloth outer wrapping, metal tin and baby feeder
(Address removed for security reasons)
The tin looks as though it was once an old biscuit tin that has been given a face lift by someone hand painting a picture of a motor scooter on it.  Probably an appropriate subject as I believe there are many motor scooters in India.  I have visions of some little old Indian person sitting in a small shop on the edge of a busy road in Jodhpur madly painting old tins to be used as post boxes while another is busily sewing up all the parcels.  Maybe this style of packaging is not how most post comes out of India but I am glad mine came this way.  I will have to buy something else now to check it out.  As I wanted to keep the packaging and the tin, I filled the cheese cloth wrapping with polystyrene blocks so it looks the same now as the day it arrived.

I. IWASAKI - MADE IN JAPAN baby feeder

The baby feeder almost took second place to the packaging but I was also very happy with it as well.  It is an early banjo shaped feeder that could date from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.  It has a stylised flower embossed into the front with the words I. IWASAKI - MADE IN JAPAN around it.  Being a Japanese made feeder it could be closer to the later date as I believe they were still using this design later in Japan.  It has a rather crudely made glass screw top stopper which would probably have had a rubber teat attached to it.  The earlier feeders had a rubber tube with a teat at the end which allowed the feeder to be placed at the side of the baby while feeding.  These tubes were very unhygienic and led to a lot of babies dying from bacterial infection.  Because of this, this type of baby feeing bottle became known as a 'murder bottle'.  This in itself is another story which I will do a blog about in the near future.

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