Sweet Snippers

We are going to have to come up with far more challenging mystery artifacts. This week’s and last week’s What-in-the-WORLD?-Wednesday items produced correct answers right out of the starting gate.

Yes, these are sugar cutters — or “nippers” — circa 1820. They were given to Maine Historical Society in 1916 by George H. Smardon. They belonged to his mother, Mrs. Samuel Smardon, who bought them in Devonshire, England, and brought them to Portland in 1829. They were used to cut pieces off a cone-shaped “loaf” of sugar, which is the way the sweetener was sold in the early part of the 19th century. This site has some great images, and goes into detail about how the household tools were used.

Honorable mentions to our creative (and witty) Facebook guessers who imagined the tongs clipping Fido’s nails during the Civil War era, clipping other animal body parts (we’ll leave it at that), pulling teeth (yikes), lifting hot iron, and–har, har–leading a spouse around by the nose.

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