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Object ID # 1961.038.023
Object Name Cutter, Sugar
Title Sugar Shears
Lexicon category 4: T&E For Materials
Date 19th-century
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Great Britain?
Description Household metal sugar shears (sugar cutter) mounted on a rectangular, finished brown wooden base with moulded top corners. A curved, tang-like iron piece rests in the mid-section on the top of the base. The fulcrum area is supported by a fancy brass post that has a turned look to it. An iron-shanked handle ends with a darkly-finished wooden grip knob that has one deep incised ring and two fine incised rings. The working end has two shaped iron blade "jaws" for cutting the sugar. The underside has two holes exposing the hardware holding the metal to the mount. No maker's identification is seen.
Makers mark None
Provenance Very likely from the 19th-century. It belonged to the Rixon or Ainslie family of Leith, Grey County.

The last owner, Eleanor Rixon (d. 1973), lived at 894 5th Avenue East, Owen Sound, Grey County, where her parents had moved to in the late 19th-century. Her father, Henry Rixon, emigrated from England in 1860. Her mother Helen (née Ainslie), was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Ainslie of Leith (they later moved to Owen Sound and lived with or near the Rixons).

Adam Ainslie had emigrated from Scotland prior to 1846, as he married his wife, Isabelle Miller, at Galt, Upper Canada that year. The Ainslies moved to the Leith area of Sydenham Township, Grey County in the 1850s, and were somewhat well-to-do, as Mr. Ainslie had been a barrister and Reeve at Galt, and for a while he owned the Leith Distillery. In the 1880s, they moved to Owen Sound with the Rixons. In 1896 [year Miss Rixon said, likely was 1897 though], Mr. Ainslie died at the home of his son-in-law, Mr. Henry Rixon, in Owen Sound, Grey County.

The Rixon sisters told museum staff that Adam Ainslie was Scottish. Andrew Armitage says in his article "Dock a Relic of Busy Village", SUN-TIMES, Owen Sound, Friday August 7, 2009, Page A5: "Born in Haddingtonshire, England in 1807, Ainslie became a lawyer at the age of 19. He practiced his profession at Gibraltar for a decade before quitting the Rock to come to Canada in 1834. Galt was his first stop and there he prospered. The very model of a Canadian gentleman, an actor, poet, politician and barrister." Armitage mentions how Ainslie oversaw the building of a wharf at Leith in Sydenham. It was completed in the summer of 1861.

The Rixon burial plot is at Leith Cemetery, in the former Sydenham Township, and includes the following:
William Augustus Rixon (b. 1869-d. 1892)
Henry Rixon (father) 1838-1920
Helen Rixon (mother) 1847-1913
Ada A. Rixon 1874-1894
Ella A. Rixon 1871-1918
Alex A. Ainslie 1850-1887
Adam Ainslie 1807-1897
Isabella Ainslie 1828-1918
John Ainslie 1858-1923
Laura Rixon 1876-1963
Eleanor Rixon Dec. 27, 1973
William M. Burr 1861-1931
Frank Broderick 1856-1915
J. Jane Broderick 1867-1933
F. Rixon Broderick 1895-1958
Collection Food Processing Tools & Equipment
Material Wood/Metal/Iron/Finish/Brass
Dimensions H-15.8 W-31.5 L-8.2 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
People Rixon, Henry
Ainslie, Adam
Ainslie, Isabella
Rixon, Helen
Rixon, Eleanor
Subjects Sugar
Search Terms Leith (Village of)
Function In the 19th-century sugar cutters were used to cut small chunk of sugar off a large cone of sugar (how sugar was sold during this time).