I couldn’t help but wonder what these tongs were originally made for? I certainly am not an expert on research but this I am thinking, they were for asparagus. Note my research below……..
‘Asparg’, meaning ‘sprout’ in Persian becomes ‘asparagos’, ‘shoot’ in Greek. It is a member of the lily family, a relative of onions, garlic and that food of the Gods and Welshmen, the leek. The Romans, like the modern Italians, were wild for asparagus. In Rome itself it was eaten with olive oil until Julius Caesar was offered a dish in Mediolanum, now Milan, served with butter.
Plutarch records that Caesar liked it very much, relishing both its taste and its speed of preparation, perfect for a busy man with a continent to run. “In the time it takes to cook asparagus” became the Roman equivalent of a New York Minute – not much time at all. source http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/7724041/There-is-so-much-to-love-about-asparagus.html
Tongs formed from a single piece of silver can be dated to the late 1700s. These were often engraved, and many had a noticeable concave running on the inside of the tongs, from tip to tip. Sometimes the arms ended in a spoon or shell shape, other times they were more like a three-tined fork, or even a claw.
Intricately engraved and pierced tongs were typical of the Georgian Era, but as the 1800s dawned, more and more smiths toned down the decorations on their flatware. Contemporary tongs of the day got plainer, more solid, except, of course, for those that deliberately copied the older, more rococo styles of the previous century.
In addition to tongs for clasping sugar, larger, wider serving tongs were produced for everything from asparagus to small sandwiches. There were also tongs for ice cubes, whose spoons were frequently pierced to make sure one was cooling one’s beverage rather than merely watering it down. Sardine tongs were another variation—often one end was flat while the other was tined.
For the most part, New World smiths emulated the styles of their Old World forebears. Colonial and American silversmiths such as Paul Revere and Charles Oliver Bruff made sugar and other types of sterling silver tongs.
Note *source Collector’s Weekly 🙂
Tongs up for bid on OnlineAuction.com