Development of the Sugar Cube

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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The next sugar-cube breakthrough occurred in Cologne, Germany, at the Pfeifer & Langen sugar company, founded in 1870 and still flourishing today. In 1872 Eugen Langen developed his own technique for making sugar cubes, which relied on a centrifuge to create blocks of sugar that were then sawn into cubes. Patented in 1874, the method proved so effective that the British sugar giant Henry Tate bought exclusive rights for British production and introduced sugar cubes to the British public on a large scale. See tate & lyle. In 1894 Tate switched to another technique that had been invented in Belgium in late 1880. This process used special cylindrical turbines to manufacture tablets from powdered sugar that were then sawn into regular cubes, initially called “dominoes.” In 1902 the Tienen Sugar Refinery, Belgium’s largest sugar maker, adopted the technique, which it uses to this day to produce an extremely hard cube known as morceau dur, or Adant cube, after its inventor.