The story behind the Billy Tong'sTM
In April of 1999, the late Bill Pieh (Centaur Forge, Ltd.) began the design of a range of metalsmiths tongs. He intended to develop his own line to compete with the high costs associated with importing from England and Germany. Many of the original prototypes were similar to Vaughans (especially the box jaw, bolt and wolf jaw) and Peddinghaus (rivet and open mouth) and some were based on Dan Boone's designs.
Bill found the SAE 4140 medium Carbon Steel materials, used by a fine toolmaker in Pakistan, to be of superb quality for his line. The first prototypes were great replicas of the samples he provided and displayed a surface that had a unique smooth red tinge. My father Bill passed away in April of 2000 and I joined my mother, Bonnie Pieh, at Centaur Forge, Ltd. The tongs were put on exhibit at the 2001 NOMMA conference. After receiving feedback on what the industry wanted, it occurred to me to develop a tong that was different-lighter, stronger, versatile, and more attractive. My 12-year metallurgical and technical background lured me to their development. In my free time, for the next 2 years, I became determined to bring the vision of these tongs to fruition!
After meeting with Vaughans and the Pakistan companies in the fall of 2002 we made our final changes to crank the reins and forge weld the balls on the reins. In January of 2003 we received our first shipment! I am satisfied with the tools and have accepted the designs and patterns. Vaughans has since adopted the line for distribution in Europe and South America. They have been named Billy TongsTM to honor my father and I am proud to present them in my Pieh Legacy CollectionTM.
A special thanks goes out to the blacksmiths of yesteryear from the 1800's and current smiths such as Tom Clark, Clifton Ralph, Uri Hoffi, Rick Lenz, VP of Peddinghaus and President of Vaughans. It was through their support and experience that I was able to better understand the variety of needs of the metalworkers around the world. My own technical and metallurgical background of 14 years aided in the development of these fine tools. I am proud of them and hope you find them to be the most versatile tools in your collection. It was my hope that one tong would be able to provide the smith with the ability to fulfill a variety of needs in his day-to-day forging projects.
Amy Pieh, President
Pieh Tool Company, Inc