M2000.41.144 | Baby bowl

Baby bowl
About 1930, 20th century
6 x 15 cm
Gift of Mme Louise Hurtubise Bousquet
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Bowl (97)
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Keys to History

It was from a bowl like this that young children in the 1930s would probably have eaten a remarkable Canadian innovation called Pablum. Devised by three doctors at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, this cereal contained minerals and vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E, which are essential nutrients for a child's development. Consumption of Pablum helped reduce the incidence of nutrition-related rickets, a serious disease, widespread at the beginning of the 20th century, that causes a softening of the bones. In 1961 Dr. Charles Scriver, a pioneer of research at the Montreal Children's Hospital, established a link between rickets and vitamin-D deficiency. As a result of this discovery, vitamin D was systematically added to bottled milk, a move that helped control rickets in children in Canada.

  • What

    This bowl has an inner chamber that can be filled with hot water to keep the food warm, a bit like a thermos.

  • Where

    The bowl was made in Staffordshire, England, by the company Sampson Bridgwood and Son, world famous for its high-quality china.

  • When

    Potters in Staffordshire, England, began producing children's patterned dishes in the 1800s. It was said at the time that every single aspect of daily life provided an opportunity to educate children.

  • Who

    Frederick Tisdall (1893-1951), Theodore Drake (1891-1959) and Alan Brown (1887-1960) were the three pediatricians at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children who developed Pablum cereal as well as Sunwheat vitamin biscuits for infants in the early 1930s.