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Sugar Tongs

Eastman, Moses
Place Made:
Savannah Georgia United States of America
Date Made:
LOA: 6-5/8″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Silver sugar tongs with heavily shaped arms and shoulders. Cast shell decorations are applied to faces of both arms and the die-struck tips are in the form of shells.

MARK: Struck on inside of arm with an intaglio “M•EASTMAN” mark in a rectangular reserve.

MAKER: Moses Eastman was born in Concord, New Hampshire on 17 June 1794. About 1820 he moved to Savannah Georgia and joined the partnership of J. Penfield & Co. with Josiah Penfield (1785-1828) and Frederick Marquand (1799-1882). The firm was dissolved in 1828 and Eastman worked under his own name, referring to himself in advertisements as “M. Eastman; surviving partner and succesor to the late firm of J. Penfield & Co.” In 1834 he married New Jersey native Elizabeth Tuthill (1799-1883) in Savannah. His business apparently continued operations after Eastman’s 1850 death but was eventually sold to George M. Griffen, who had worked for Eastman as a watchmaker. Eastman is buried in his New Hampshire hometown and with his wife Elizabeth Tuthill, who died in Madison, New Jersey. See George Barton Cutten, “The Silversmiths of Georgia” (Savannah, GA: Pigeonhole Press, 1958) and gravestone for Moses and Elizabeth Eastman, Pine Grove Cemetery, East Concord, Merrimack Co., NH (available online: [accessed 20 September 2017]).

FORM: Sugar tongs were first introduced during the second quarter of the eighteenth century and were often shaped like scissors joined with a flat hinge. By the end of the century and into the next, however, tongs were cut from sheet silver and usually decorated with bright-cut engraving that bordered long, tapering arms that ended in oval, shell, acorn, or eagle claw tips.

Credit Line:
Gift of Beth Mercier