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Tongs are gripping and lifting instruments, of which there are many forms adapted to their specific use. Some are merely large pincers or nippers, but the greatest number fall into three classes:

the first, as in the common fire-tongs, used for picking up pieces of coal and placing them on a fire, which have long arms terminating in small flat circular grippers and are pivoted close to the handle;

the second, as in the sugar-tongs, asparagus-tongs, and the like, consisting of a single band of metal bent round or of two bands joined at the head by a spring,

and third, such as the blacksmith's tongs or the crucible-tongs, in which the pivot or joint is placed close to the gripping ends. A special form of tongs is that known as the "lazy-tongs," consisting of a pair of grippers at the end of a series of levers pivoted together like scissors, the whole being closed or extended by the movement of the handles communicated to the first set of levers and thence to the grippers, the whole forming an extensible pair of tongs for gripping and lifting things at a distance.