This water dispenser was used for training purposes prior to the Gemini missions of the 1960s. Stainless steel dispensers such as this were an important part of the equipment carried aboard the spacecraft. It was designed to dispense measured amounts of hot or cold water into the food containers.
Feeding the astronauts a nutritious diet was of paramount importance, but problems associated with storage and dispensing had to be overcome. Due to space and weight considerations, food had to be lightweight and have the ability to be compressed when possible, so many items were dehydrated for later rehydration and consumption. For the early missions, food also had to be stored without refrigeration.
NASA transferred this object to the National Air and Space Museum in 1967.