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Iron tongs were used for handling material difficult to pick-up directly by hand such as ice. Often we see images of such tongs being used to deliver block ice, but they could be used on boxes or any variety of materials. By holding the handles leverage is created when an object is lifted. The weight of the object itself causes the points to dig in and hold firm. Such tongs were ideally suited to grasping slick blocks of ice, pulling them from the water when cut or maneuvering them later on removal from the icehouse. A blacksmith made early tongs locally, but later they were factory-made.


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