Here is a fine pair of antique ice tongs, made by the Gifford-Wood Company of Hudson, New York. This is down home Americana and would be a great item for display in a country home, perhaps on a chimney above the mantel piece, or beside a hearth where they could actually be used to handle fireplace logs. The tongs date from the early 1900s.
These are interestingly on the small side -- see our photos -- but the tongs spread nearly flat to accommodate a block of ice up to 14 inches across.
Both tong arms are marked: One is impressed 554 (probably the factory issued part number) and the other is impressed GIFFORD-WOOD / HUDSON N.Y. IMPORTANT: While the city is clearly legible, the name is worn and difficult to make out. (But there is absolutely no question as to the maker.)
CONDITION: All original and super nice, these are fine to actually use! The hinge pin is sound and strong. There are no cracks, twists or splits. These are "AS FOUND" so there is just the slightest "surface crud" that we think adds appeal.
Background: In 1814, Elihu Gifford established a foundry in Hudson, New York, and would be succeeded over the years by first his sons William and James. That management in turn was succeeded in 1889 by James' sons Arthur and Malcolm who operated the company as Gifford Brothers. Then, in 1905, Gifford Brothers merged with the William T. Wood Company. of Arlington, Mass. and incorporated the merged company as Gifford-Wood Company, Inc., operating in a huge factory complex near Hudson's city center.
The newly reorganized company specialized in tools to carry and handle ice. I could not find anything about when the Hudson plant closed. There are online references about them supplying ice handling equipment in 1911; but a news article states that in 1915, the ground floor of the Gifford-Wood building had become the showroom for William Petry's automobile company.
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