Sterling silver Gibson spoon, 1827.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Charles Gibson designed spoons with lids in 1827 to prevent spillage when giving medicine to children and the mentally ill who may refuse to swallow, so as to ensure the contents went down the patient's throat. There was a hinged cover on the bowl, which opened for filling with the medicine. The narrow tip was placed between the patient's lips. The handle was hollow and had a flange, which could be covered with a thumb to prevent air entering. When the thumb was removed air was admitted which forced the medicine down the patient's throat.