With the recent arrival of Princess Charlotte, we thought we would feature this antique soother, manufactured in 1897, as part of our collection and currently on exhibit in the Toy Stories. The soother was donated 1977 by Jean Hargrave (nee Cruickshank).
Although it appears wooden, the soother is made from natural rubber, as you would expect from an object meant to go into a baby’s mouth! Although this material would go on to revolutionize modern industry in Canada, this rubber was likely imported from South America. The budding overseas rubber industries closely protected their trade, and exporting rubber tree seeds from Brazil was even considered a capital offense at that time.
On one face of the soother we can see a picture of Queen Victoria, the ruling monarch of England during that time. Despite gaining independence from England in 1867, many Canadians retained fond memories of their former rulers, and the continued influx of English immigrants contributed to the enthusiasm towards the Crown. Even 108 years after the manufacture of the soother, the Royal Family remains ever popular with Canadians, especially with the recent birth of Princess Charlotte. However, I don’t think the modern and savvy Prince William would be too happy using the likeness of his great-great-great-great-grandmother on his daughter’s pacifier!