tongs were meant to handle blocks of ice for use in cold storage,
though they could no doubt serve for other purposes.
the popularization of the electric freezer in the early-to-mid
1900s, the preservation of fresh food was dependent on a fresh
supply of ice. The ice deliveryman would probably have used
tongs such as these as he made his daily rounds.
The set of tongs is 17" long and 17" from finger
to finger when fully open. "Gifford
Wood Co. Hudson, N.Y." is stamped on the inside edge
of each tong arm. In 1905, the merging of William T. Wood
& Co., which specialized in ice harvesting equipment,
with the Gifford Brothers, which manufactured tools for handling
ice, created Gifford Wood Co.
two companies consolidated their operations in Hudson, New
York in 1911. The Hudson River was an important source of
ice at the time.