ADvent Calendar Day 4

ADvent Calendar Day 4

‘It has often been observed by experienced elders, that since it became the fashion for babies to discard caps, protruding ears are but too common. They are very ugly, and the ear-cap just invented is a safe preventive, without the heat that made the cap objectionable.’ (Northampton Mercury, 17 April 1891)

The inventor was the artist Adelaide Claxton, who patented the ear cap in both the UK and the US. A delicate web of ribbons, it was designed to prevent babies’ ears from getting pushed forward as they moved their heads in their sleep.


Claxton's Patent Ear Cap

This ad is from the Chemist & Druggist in the 1890s, but I confess that I am presently unable to ascertain the whereabouts of the notebook in which I wrote down the issue date.

In 1903, Claxton patented an improved version of the cap, with a piece of fine netting to cover each ear. An example of this later design has previously been on display in the Wellcome Collection’s Medicine Man exhibition and you can find some pictures of it on the Science Museum’s website.