This is not to open up like a set of tongs. It is actually a vintage 1950 metal butter cutter. It is used to cut small slices of butter. You would set this on top of the butter and pull the handle together in order to get a slice of butter. it will cut as large of a slice or as small of a slice as you wish depending on where you set it on top of the cube of butter. A lot of people used this to slice the cube of butter for cooking. In some recipes it would call for two tablespoons of butter and a person would just place this on the package of butter, go to the 2 tablespoon mark and pull the handle together to get a nice slice.
There seems to be a lot of controversy about what this gadget was really made for.
I cannot tell you for sure what the official use was but here is what I know about this gadget:
This gadget was sold by Pampered Chef in the early 80's; this I know because I was given one as a gift when my daughter hosted a Pampered Chef party. Now, I'm saying this particular one only because it is made of stainless steel and has the Pampered Chef logo stamped on blade.
It is my understanding that Pampered Chef did not make their products; in stead they chose products that were already being made and had that company make the product for them (usually with their logo) and may have been of better quality than the original item.
The logo shows a hen setting on a chef's hat but it was retired in 2000 and only the chef's hat is used today.
Their are several of these gadgets listed for sale online but all of the ones that I've seen are made of aluminum and do not look very sturdy (and are not Pampered Chef items).
When this was presented to me the agent for Pampered Chef said it was used to make butter pats to place on guests individual small butter dishes.
She said you pushed bars together, sliced off a chunk of butter (any size) and lifted the butter still on the blade, placed if over the small plate and released the bars so the butter slid onto the plate.
This was during a time that many people still 'set' the table for dinner/supper.
I did not use it and I'm sure it is still located somewhere in all of my stored boxes.
You can check out the logo on this link:
Someone (you maybe) was asking about this on Twitter. It was called a butter cutter, cheese cutter, and cookie dough cutter. One (yours?) sold as a butter cutter on Etsy for $5.
I am curious if that is what it really is--because I can't find anything else even similar in my resources. At one point I had a rather large vintage kitchen accessory collection and I never saw anything like this.
Cybergrannie is an expert on all things kitchen--I am curious to hear her take!
Blessings and all good wishes!!
My Mother always used one of these for drop cookies. Just scooped the dough up on the flat part and squeezed to drop the dough onto the pan. Never heard of using it for butter. I still have the one my Mom had, but I prefer an actual scoop for cookies, I like big cookies.