Sugar used to be refined into what was called a sugarloaf, a tall cone shape with a rounded top. People have been making sugarloaves since at least the 12th Century. Raw sugar was refined by a series of boiling and filtering processes. When, at the final boiling it was considered ready for granulation it was poured into a large number of inverted conical molds. The popularity of sugarloaves declined as new processes were invented making it easier to refine and be sold as the small cubes and granulated sugar we are familiar with.
Pieces were cut from it by hand using sugar nips, pliers-like
cutters. Typically, the bigger the sugarloaf, the lower the grade
Portuguese explorers who discovered Rio de Janeiro in 1502
named Sugarloaf Mountain, due to its resemblance to a sugarloaf