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This sugar box served as a decoration and was useful. Sugar had been an expensive treat that most people in the 17th century could not afford. As the West Indies sugar cane plantations made more sugar, more people wanted more of it. Sugar sweetened the chocolate, tea and coffee drunk by growing numbers of people. By the end of the 1700s, sugar in the cheaper liquid form of molasses and more costly "loaf sugar" had become an everyday part of the American diet. This imported box kept the sugar inside clean and dry. Its graceful design also hinted at the good taste of its owner.