Southern Sugar Chest

This 19th-century piece was designed to safeguard a then-precious commodity.
By Glen D. Huey
Pages: 34-40

From the June 2007 issue #162
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Not so long ago, obtaining sugar wasn’t easy. It’s difficult to believe that the commodity we have in almost everything today was scarce and highly valued in the early part of the 19th century.

During those days well-to-do patrons required somewhere to store this sweet under lock and key. Why did sugar have to be locked away? It was so valuable that the hired help could be tempted to pinch a bit here and there.

So local cabinetmakers rose to the occasion and the result was a specialized piece of furniture – the sugar chest. This type of chest was built throughout the South – most notably in central Kentucky and middle Tennessee.

From the June 2007 issue #162
Buy this issue now