Remember back in the 80’s when Scope magazine had those little boxes, stars and circles placed strategically on the breasts of those stunning models. All of this in order to get around the dreaded publications board and the old conservative apartheid government.
Remember back in the 80’s when Scope magazine had those little boxes, stars and circles placed strategically on the breasts of those stunning models. All of this in order to get around the dreaded publications board and the old conservative apartheid government. How we young men wished that nipple covers were erasable, and boy did we try and rub them out, especially when word did the rounds that one plastic wrapped issue had removable ones.[Warning: Image with partial nudity below].
Flash forward 30 odd years and nipple covers are once again part of the industry I find myself in. Only this time I am dealing with the nipple shield sans the girl.
This silver nipple shield was made in England in 1809 by renowned makers Phipps & Robinson and had a completely different rationale. The origin of this also had its roots in the social norms of the day all be it for a different reason.
Many wealthy upper class English ladies had wet nurses who helped share the burden of nursing ‘heirs to be’. This may sound odd to our modern sensibilities but let’s face facts if you could afford a mansion and kept up with the Jones’s then there was little time for continual breast feeding. Another thing to consider was that children, along with normal developing dietary habits, nursed a lot later than they do today.
Now the problem for the gentry was that it was all well and good to have your wife back from nursing the child and ready to procreate again, but what about the lower class values your heir apparent was ingesting when being nursed by the nanny. Silver being a noble metal was always part of the wealth of the upper classes and the lord of the manor could simply order up a silver nipple shield from his silversmith. It came complete with holes allowing for the free flow of milk and covered a large portion of the areola. The belief was, that the lower class values would then be prevented from contaminating the child. Sounds hard to believe but this was also a time when corral on babies rattles was thought to ward off the attention of witches.
Today in the silver trade I come across these every now and then and they sell quickly due to their ability to intrigue and shock- nothing like having one on your coffee table for social interaction when the Van der Merwes, Khumalos or Naidoos are around for tea. I do remember an English antique dealer telling me years ago that they were also probably suggested by the wife of the silversmith who found herself wet nursing an ‘heir apparent’ who had not learnt to control the use of his teeth. In fear of having her nipples seriously chewed her smart husband came up with this practical answer and maybe those working class common sense solutions found themselves crossing the social barriers after all.