People have been using objects to soothe babies for centuries, but Christian W. Meinecke is credited with inventing the pacifier. In 1901 he filed a patent for "a new and original Design for a Baby Comforter."

Meinecke was the owner of Greenwich Street drugstore and had many patents under his belt at the time of his invention. These included a "self-retaining rectal tube" and a "sputum cup and holder." He constructed the first pacifier out of India rubber and a disk-shaped shield that kept the infant from choking on the object. Though the pacifier was popular among mothers, many critics claimed it caused "nipple confusion" and children who used it would "always become masturbators."