How Toys and Bottles Killed Many Victorian Children | by Alema Ljuca | Aug, 2022

A Victorian Trade Card, ca. 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Even though the toxic effects from lead were not known, Documented as early as 2000 BC, the Victorians still used it to paint children’s toys.

The problem was the Victorians didn’t realize how dangerous lead could be and that even a small amount could prove fatal. Professor Andy Meharg Here are some additional details:

“Anything that was coloured or pigmented would have had high levels of a toxic metal in it. Even if it was white it wasn’t safe, there were large levels of lead even in white painted toys.”

What helped lead-painted toys appear harmless was that, contrary to other toxic substances, lead paint isn’t bitter, metallic-tasting, or foul — it is sweet. So, when children placed the toys in their mouths, they weren’t repelled by the taste or discouraged to repeat the act.

A Victorian advertisement featuring Dutch Boy White Lead Paint. Source: Wikimedia Commons)

As the paint dried off, lead paint particles were also swallowed by children. All of this lead to lead poisoning which many children experienced in three stages. It was discovered Charlotte Rafferty, an infant girl, began to show symptoms. “convulsions”It will all become clear after some time. “lines along her gums” appeared. The third stage was death.

The result of lead poisoning is called the blue-purplish lines that appear on the gums. Burton’s lines.Anemia and kidney disease can also indicate lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can also cause brain damage by attacking the nervous system.

Also, lead can enter unborn babies’ placenta barrier and cause severe harm. Although lead has many dangerous properties, it was not used widely in Victorian England. Dr. Suzanna discovered that the British used lead more often in coloring than other European countries. Remarks:

“In the 1920s, white lead was banned in indoor paint products in Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Poland, Spain, Finland and Norway, but not Britain. Amazingly, it wasn’t until the 1970s, more than 100 years after the problem had been identified, that the British government controlled the lead content of household paint.”

Advertisement for the Victorian “Murder Bottle,” 1868 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

To make mother’s lives easier, the “banjo-shaped bottle” It was first introduced to the Victorian market. It was easy to use by children. It was a hit with Mrs. Beeton.

In today’s terms Mrs. Beeton would have her catheterized as a “lifestyle guru.”She advocated breastfeeding over bottle-feeding, and Mrs. Beeton wrote about the innovative bottle in 1861.

“The nipple need never be removed till replaced by a new one, which will hardly be necessary oftener than once a fortnight.”

A fortnight is a period of two weeks, and the lifestyle guru’s advice proved to be fatal.

Advertisement for the Victorian “Murder Bottle,” 1868 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The bottle with the banjo design was made of earthenware and glass. The bottle’s neck was fitted with a long rubber tube.

The bottle’s unusual shape, along with the rubber tube, made it difficult for cleaning. Mrs. Beeton advised cleaning the bottle twice a week to stop bacteria from growing inside.

Over time, dangerous microorganisms began to grow on the bottles. This, combined with the sensitive nature of young children, proved fatal. After it was discovered that the bottle had caused the deaths of many thousands children, the bottle was eventually renamed. “murder bottle”And withdrawn from market.

The use of murder bottles reduced infant mortality in Victorian. Only two out ten children survived past the age of two.

Victorian advertisement for condensed milk with boracic acid. 1889 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Victorian Era didn’t have fridges, so milk was delicate. Instead, they used ice containers.

An icebox was a wooden cabinet with tin or zirconia lining. A compartment was created in the cabinet to hold an ice block. The iceblock, as you might expect was not as efficient at keeping fresh dairy and meat products than modern refrigerators. It would also melt throughout the entire day.

The Victorians had different ideas.

Different versions of iceboxes (Source : Wikimedia Commons)

Boracic acid was added to the milk. It is still used in insecticides. It was used to mask the unpleasant smell and taste of spoiled milk. You were now off milk and boracic. This caused stomachache, nausea, and diarrhea. But that’s not the end of milk.

Victorian Era Pasteurization wasn’t properly done or regulated. Bovine Tuberculosis (also known as Bovine TB) was first discovered in milk. Bovine Tuberculosis can inflict the spine and other internal organs.

Children were most affected by milk consumption. Approximately 500,000 children died from milk-related causes during the Victorian Era.

Source: How Toys and Bottles Killed Many Victorian Children | by Alema Ljuca | Aug, 2022

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