Sweet mould

Type of object
Technique and material

Iron, brass

46 x 44 x 23 cm

This 1910 sweet mould was used by confectioners to shape traditionally handcrafted sweets made from cooking sugar. The two brass cylinders are engraved, in this example with the shape of segments of citrus fruit. The confectioner would cook sugar syrup in a copper kettle and leave it to solidify slightly on a flat surface and then use the crank handle to push the paste through the mould. The pressure of the two cylinders would print a pattern in the paste, thus making individual sweets.

Europeans had quite a sweet tooth in the late 19th and early 20th century and sweets were very popular. Sugar beet was used since 1812 as it was less expensive than sugar cane. It aroused confectioners’ curiosity and hence the 19th century saw a flourish of liqueur sweets (1815), fondant creams (1830) and jellies (1879) to add to the range of toffees and boiled sweets which had been around for centuries.