by Bernard K. Means, Director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory
Today’s animation is a glass nipple shield vessel from New York. It was scanned at the New York State Museum (NYSM) in July 2014. The object consists of a transparent, aqua colored glass and had to be heavily coated with a neutral white powder for scanning.
The nipple shield is hollow, but the NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner was unable to record the interior of the object. The ScanStudio software “closed” all data holes, making the hollow nipple shield solid and closing the entrance for the nipple itself. It is possible that the entire object could be scanned with 3 or more scans. The NYSM’s Susan Winchell-Sweeney provides us with the following information:
This form of nipple shield became popular in the 19th-century. A nursing woman would wear this nipple shield to act as a receptacle for any excess milk that may have leaked while not actively nursing a baby. This particular nipple shield is made of glass, a material that was often used to make nipple shields for lower income women. Other materials favored by the lower income classes were lead and bone. Women who were significantly better off often used nipple shields made of pewter, silver and ivory.