The North Bros Mfg. Co was founded in 1878 by Selden North as a foundry. By 1887 two other brothers joined the company and incorporated as the North Bros Mfg company. By 1900 the company was a major manufacture and employer in the city of Philadelphia producing ice cream freezers, ice shavers, kitchen tools and various consumer goods. Stanley Works tool company bought out the North Bros company in 1946.
These Gem ice shavers are manual ice shavers made from cast iron with a stainless steel blade housed in the body. They were typically used to make shaved ice desserts, and are sometimes still used today as electric ice shavers tend to crush the ice—some prefer the thinner shavings created by these manual shavers. The convenience and ease of electric shavers still makes them far more common than manual shavers.
Running the blade over a block of ice will fill the body of the shaver with ice shavings. Pour the shavings into a bowl, add flavored syrup, and you have a simple, easy to make dessert.