Suiter Swantz IP takes a look back at past inventions and inventors with our Patent of the Day.  

On this day in 1934, Alfred H. Ackerson was granted U.S. Patent No. 1,967,731 for ICE CUBE TONGS.

An excerpt from the patent states:

This invention relates to tongs for use in picking up and handling ice cubes, sugar cubes, nuts, sweetmeats, and other articles of similar nature and size.

In the preferred embodiment of the invention, I provide a miniature tongs having a tubular body portion provided with an actuating stem extending therethrough, the stem having a button or large head at one end thereof, ad having a grooved collar at the other end. The stem is reciprocally mounted within the tube, and is normally maintained in position by a coiled spring confined within the body portion and extending about the stem.

The tong members comprise a pair of pivotally mounted tongs which are disposed at the lower end of the tubular body portion, and have integral cam surfaces engaging in the grooved collar for moving the tongs into open and closed position upon movement of the collar. The coiled spring normally tends to maintain the tongs in closed position.

The grooved collar is preferably adjustable with respect to the stem, in order to provide for engaging articles of varying size with the tongs. However, since the tongs have a relatively large ratio of movement with respect to the movement of the collar, this being on the order of 25 to 1, this adjustment may be omitted. The wide range of movement of the tongs is made possible by the relatively short lever arm extending between the camming surface and the pivot of the tongs on the collar.

The ends of the tongs are preferably sharply pointed, and the spring is of sufficient strength to force the ends to bite into the surface of the engaged article and to urge the tongs to closed position. An annular flange on the tubular body portion provides a grip for the fingers of the operator, and the enlarged head or button on the stem is engaged by the thumb or palm of the hand when it is desired to compress the spring to open the tongs.

One of the primary objects of the present invention is to provide a pair of pivotally mounted tong members having camming engagement with a movable collar, wherein the ratio of movement of the tongs with respect to the movement of the collar is relatively great.

Another important object of the invention is to provide, in tongs of the type described, a spring which normally maintains the tongs closed, and which is compressed in opening the tongs and is of sufficient strength to force the ends of the tongs into gripping engagement with the desired article when the spring is released from compressed position.

Another object of the invention is to provide a simple tong construction, having relatively few moving parts, which need not be accurately machined or aligned, and which may be readily taken apart and reassembled.

A further object of the invention is to produce tongs of small and compact size, neat in appearance, economical in design, and which has no part susceptible to any substantial wear or strain.

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