What Is It?

Set of large red tongs

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These tongs were meant to handle blocks of ice for use in cold storage, though they could no doubt serve for other purposes.

Before the popularization of the electric freezer in the early-to-mid 1900s, the preservation of fresh food was dependent on a constant supply of ice. The ice deliveryman would probably have used tongs such as these as he made his daily rounds.

Man picking up a large block of ice using ice tongs.

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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. The two companies consolidated their operations in Hudson, New York in 1911. The Hudson River was an important source of ice at the time.