Large Tongs

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
agsearcher
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Large Tongs

Postby agsearcher » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:18 pm

Hello. Perhaps it was a most recent post between members Qrt.S and Goldstein that influenced me into acquiring this monstrosity. It's 28 cm. long and 175 grams. I have not been able to positively identify the maker, whose mark looks to be S.T stamped on the outside of each of the finger part.
There is possibly another mark on the inside of each of the long section.
Perhaps American? I found a Samuel Tingley and a Silas Tracy Toncray. Maybe an alternate mark for one of them?
I appreciate any feedback.

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agphile
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Location: UK

Re: Large Tongs

Postby agphile » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:54 am

They look a bit like an early to mid 18th century version of asparagus tongs, though perhaps for serving something a bit chunkier judging by the gap between the ridged sections when closed. I'm afraid I cannot help with the maker's mark. I don't find it in any of my reference books for English silver for what that is worth.

I am intrigued by the engraved number 4:8. I would have expected this to be a scratch weight in troy ounces and pennyweights if we assume the tongs are from an English influenced area but this would come nowhere near 175 grams.

silverfan
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Re: Large Tongs

Postby silverfan » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:46 am

Could that be a surgical tool?
MfG silverfan

agsearcher
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Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Re: Large Tongs

Postby agsearcher » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:44 pm

Thank you for responses. It certainly does have a surgical look and feel about it. Still hoping to identify maker. Thank you.

AG2012
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Re: Large Tongs

Postby AG2012 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:00 am

Hi,
Similar tongs have been discussed here:
http://www.ascasonline.org/ARTICOLOGENNA178.html
Regards

Aguest
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Re: Large Tongs

Postby Aguest » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:16 am

The 4 and the 8 have marks next to them that remind me of "inches." ::: And when you measure this piece it is approximately 12 inches long ::: So it might be a unit of length rather than weight ::: The first part of the handle is 4 inches long, and the long skinny part is 8 inches long? ::: If this were used for early surgery, the length of the tongs would be very important to the surgeon indeed ::: It has something to do with length, perhaps the length of the serrated part at the end, or the total length of the tongs, not sure :::

agsearcher
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:37 pm

Re: Large Tongs

Postby agsearcher » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:01 pm

Hello. Thank you for all the responses. Yes, after more research yesterday where I read that same article, I realize now they are Serving Tongs and most likely British, perhaps Trev could move to British hallmarks section, maybe provincial? since there is just maker's mark. Could perhaps be I.S or I.T
Thanks.

agphile
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Location: UK

Re: Large Tongs

Postby agphile » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:16 am

Glad you have reached this conclusion. I had been thinking of coming back to be a bit more assertive about serving tongs rather than surgical tool. As an aside, I take a passing interest in Roman flatware (only passing because most of what you see is of doubtful provenance and often fake). One of my pet hates is the way dealers will advertise a "Roman medical spoon" when they have a perfectly ordinary small spoon with no evidence about its original use.

But to return to your tongs, in your very clear photos the mark seems to me to be a definite S.T rather than, say, IS but you have the advantage of seeing it directly. I rather fear it may be one of the many cases where we fail to make an attribution but let's hope there is somebody who knows better.

A far as the 4:8 is concerned, if it represented a weight in some measurement system that converted to approaching 175 grams, it might help suggest a country of origin. However, I don't spot a candidate so I am left to assume, like you, that the tongs are probably British, perhaps provincial or even colonial. The 4:8 may therefore be something like an inventory number (e.g. a group of serving pieces were kept in drawer or tray number 4 and this was number 8 of those pieces) but that is just speculation.

I have to say that I think this is an interesting item and a good find, so congratulations Good to think that the exchanges between our experts on Russian silver can have this sort of spin-off benefit!


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