Crafted in France at the turn of the 18th century (circa 1800), this polished steel and bronze fireplace tong would make a great addition to any fireplace. In France, fireplace tongs are called tenaille a feu, literally meaning “fire pincers”. Fireplace tongs were designed to reposition logs that are already ablaze. The long handle allows for the user to grab an out-of-position or felled log without fear of singeing their hands.
Our tong is considered a pincer tong, but it is relatively rare due to its larger size and single hinge. When the arms are pulled apart, the jaws spread as well, allowing the tong to be placed around a sizeable log. Once the arms are squeezed together, the jaws will follow, tightly gripping the piece of wood. Most French fireplace tongs are much smaller and were designed for moving kindling.
Steel can withstand high temperatures without warping, and the steel on this piece has been polished, giving it a smooth and brilliant sheen. The tips of the handles have decorative pineapple finials, which are made of gilt bronze. This Tenaille a Feu would have likely been used in an elegant French marble fireplace in the early 1800s, and today it can be used once again as a decorative and practical fireplace accessory in any home.
CONDITION: Very good antique condition. Wear commensurate to age and use with minor rubs and loss of polish.