Image above: Sugar nippers from Musée Le Secq des Tournelles
Sugar Nippers: In the early 18th and 19th centuries, sugar would have appeared on the grocery shelves in the form of a cone. And nippers, like the scary looking implements above, were used to break off a chunks for coffee or tea. Larger models for the nippers were mounted on wooden planks in order to increase leverage and stabilize the cutting action. Before 1800, refined sugar was expensive enough to be kept under lock and key. When granulated sugar was needed, the sugar would have been ground using a mortar and a pestle. The whiter the sugar, the more elegant and expensive it was. Because sugar for coffee or tea was always served in bowls in lump form, sugar pincers or tongs were used to serve the sugar at the table.