This was a table silverware item for holding and serving sugar. Always in the shape of a coal scuttle with a slanted body open at one end and sitting on a pedestal foot, together with a matching serving spoon or tongs. These were hung either on a handle or on the scuttle lip. Many were hand engraved or chased with floral work and had applied edges with bead or gadroon work.
Sugar scuttles and sugar bowls were purposely capacious. In the 18th and 19th centuries sugar was moulded into large, cone-shaped loaves weighing several pounds and each had to be broken up or grated before the sugar could be used. For anyone wanting sugar in their tea, the sugar had to be broken into irregular lumps with “sugar nippers,” from which comes the traditional question “one lump or two?”.
These were Victorian inventions and the first examples appeared in the 1850s. Many unusual items were first introduced in this period to coincide with the Great Exhibitions. They were made throughout the latter part of the Victorian period and into the early 20th century. They went out of vogue after the Second World War.