pap boat is a small receptacle for feeding pap to infants and invalids. The
typical form is boat-shaped, having the feeding end shaped as a short lip or an
extended tapering lip to be placed on the mouth of the person being fed, and the
holding end somewhat incurved and usually without a handle. Occasionally there is a
flat handle or a vertical loop handle. Silver examples are sparsely decorated,
usually with only a reeded or narrow embossed rim.
The 'pap boat' was designed to feed the 'pap' to babies and invalids. The term 'pap',
allegedly derived from the Scandinavian for the sound made when a baby opens his mouth for
nourishment, was probably introduced before its first recordings in literature in the mid 18th
century. Recipes for pap usually called for bread, flour and water. A more nourishing mixture,
'panada', was a pap base with added butter and milk, or cooked in broth as a milk substitute.
Variations on the ingredients included Lisbon sugar, beer, wine, raw meat juices and Castile
soap. Drugs were sometimes added to 'soothe the baby'.
Resembling a sauce boat (or sometimes a small bed-pan), they were made of wood, silver, pewter,
bone, porcelain or glass. They ranged from very plain, for poor families or foundling homes, to
highly decorated pieces for wealthier clients.
Silver pap boats or infant feeders were in use from the late 17th through the 19th centuries
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