This beautifully written and abundantly illustrated guide contains all that you could wish to learn about scissor-action sugar nips. 

The author begins the book by making his case for the name change from sugar nips to tea tongs. In essence it’s reverting back to their original 18th century title. Interesting and amusing anecdotal evidence will convince the reader and a fascinating study of the items’ history is provided. 

A chapter on the making of tea tongs unravels some of the mysteries regarding the construction of these complicated little gems of engineering, making it easily understandable, even for the non-technically minded.

Each component of the tea tongs; finger rings, arms, hinge, shaft and grips have their own chapter describing their stylistic evolution and are superbly illustrated throughout. It was an eye opener for me, as I never knew how many variations there were. The changing style of the item through the 17th Century is a fascinating journey and this book discusses the subject with clarity and enthusiasm. 

Due to the limited marks found on tea tongs, dating has often proved difficult. This book will greatly improve the accuracy of dating for both collector and dealer. The combination of form and makers' mark are the main tools, and a section devoted to the makers observed by the author, will make this task easier.

The book features some added extra attentions to detail; poems to lure the reader into each chapter, bullet points and even a ribbon book mark.

Limited edition of 1000 copies.

Rating ****


207 pages 250mm x 170mm

Published: 2004