SAVINGS BANKS ASSOCIATION of NEW YORK, News
Bulletin, Aug. 21, 1942
On the Air
All of the women commentators who are telling the savings story as participants
in the Promotion of Thrift Campaign have taken on the assignment with unusual
enthusiasm. Each of these commentators has been discussing economy in the home
and ways of preserving what you have, so that now with a specific recommendation
as to what to do with the money saved, their comments take on an added punch.
Indicative of the
enthusiasm was Adelaide Hawley's move in inviting Dr. Arthur Corby as her guest
on the Women's Page of the Air, Thursday, August 13th. Dr. Corby has the largest
and most complete collection of penny banks in the United States, and Miss
Hawley's interview with him is reproduced in part herein.
Franklin is the man who PUBLICIZED thrift more than anyone else — long before a
certain department store began informing the public it was "wise to be thrifty."
I really think that "saving" for some people, is a centuries-old-custom — I mean
by that that there have always been certain people who squandered all
they earned and certain people who SAVED a part of their earnings. And we've a
guest in our studio today to PROVE what I've just said, at least about the
people who save their money. He's Dr. Arthur E. Corby, a Manhattan
dentist who has the largest and most complete collection of penny banks in the
United States. When do YOU think man began saving his pennies, Dr. Corby?
Corby: From an
item in my own collection of penny banks — I can prove that nineteen hundred
some-odd years ago a Roman child saved his or her — pennies. This bank I refer
to is, of course, the oldest in my collection — it's the oldest bank in the
world. Mine happens to be a replica — the original is in the Yale
Hawley: What does
it look like?
Corby: You might
compare it to a miniature camel-back trunk — a little box HUMPED in the middle —
and it's only about one and a quarter inches high and two inches wide.
have held many pennies, could it?
Corby: No, not
many, but to get back to your "penny saved is a penny earned" remark, if a penny
had been taken OUT of that bank, nineteen hundred years ago, and deposited in a
REAL bank, drawing interest at three per cent, compounded only once each year
until now — that penny would have grown to twenty-four sextillion dollars — more
than forty times the entire wealth of the United States!
HAWLEY: Let that
be a LESSON to you Larry . . . from now on . . . SAVE your pennies . . . in one
of the Savings Banks of New York State! Which reminds me . . . I know a man
who's very much in favor of our ideas on the subject of saving . . . except that
he seems to find it impossible to save at the source . . . that is, save first
and then spend what's left. The only way HE can save money is to empty his
pockets of all change at the end of the day . . . pennies, nickels, dimes,
quarters, half-dollars . . . anything that isn't "folding money" goes into a
little bank . . . I don't suppose it's as fancy as any of the penny banks in
YOUR collection, Dr. Corby . . . but it serves his purpose . . . and then when
the bank is full . . . and he says you'd be surprised at how quickly his system
FILLS it . . . off it goes for deposit in his savings account. Well, we all have
our individual way of saving . . . That's HIS . . . what's YOURS? Won't
you write and tell me about it? And tell me, too, about the ways in which you're
adjusting your mode of living in order to be ABLE to save! I'm sure you have
some pet economics we ALL could profit by . . . you know, these days, it's
really PATRIOTIC to save . . . besides buying War Bonds and stamps. Yes,
saving is the civilian's way of saving our Democracy!
That's ONE of the reasons
I asked you to be with us today Dr. Corby . . . that and the fact that you're
the world's outstanding collector of penny banks. Just how MANY banks do you
have in your collection, including the world's OLDEST penny bank.
Corby: More than
four thousand now.
Hawley: And HOW
and why did you ever get interested in this hobby of penny-bank collecting?
Corby: It goes
back to that word THRIFT again, Mrs. Hawley. It was the ROMANCE of thrift that
got me interested in penny-banks, let's say. You know of course that many
American fortunes of industries got their start because some little boy had a
bank into which he dropped his pennies — and I've got a bank in my collection to
prove THAT statement, too.
Hawley: Whose bank
Corby: J. D. Mott,
the founder of the Mott Iron Works — a leader in its field for two generations.
Mott's penny-bank was a home-made job — originally it had been an oval wooden
spice box. The boy cut a slot in the lid with his jack-knife and carved his
initials and the date on the bottom — the initials, J. D. M. — the date — 1780.
banks in your collection, Dr. Corby, usually attract the most interest?
NON-collectors? I'd say it's the mechanical banks — they always DO something
when they "take in" the penny.
Hawley: Just what
does THAT mean?
Corby: Just that
some mechanical action takes place before the coin falls into the receptacle.
For instance, in the case of the dentist's bank which I have brought with
me . . . see . . . the dentist is working on the patient . . . you put the money
in the dentist's pocket, here, and press the lever. See? The dentist
falls back, with the patient's tooth in the forceps — the MAN falls out of the
dentist's chair — and the PENNY drops into the old-time dentist's gas-bag.
very funny — you get a SHOW with every penny you save, apparently. A penny saved
buy's a penny's worth of FUN in this case.
Corby: That was
the idea — it was invented as an incentive to saving. In order to see the bank
work, the child had to deposit money in it.
Hawley: Have you
many more of those MECHANICAL banks, Dr. Corby?
Corby: Hundreds .
. . got another one right here . . . Jonah and the whale. The whale opens its
mouth to come after Jonah, but when you press the lever, Jonah surprises the
whale gulps and swallows it. The really remarkable thing about Jonah and the
whale is the excellent TIMING that the inventor has put into the mechanism.
Hawley: I suppose
it's the mechanical banks which most collectors concentrate on when they're
attempting to follow in your footsteps, Dr. Corby. Is that right?
Corby: In the
main, yes — and of course they are very amusing and entertaining.
Hawley: But not
Corby: I like ALL
my banks, of course, but I like the VARIETY of designs and materials represent,
too. I've banks made of porcelain, of pottery, or wood, leather, tin, iron,
GLASS . . .
yes . . . one of my most treasured pieces — or penny bank, rather — is a
bottle bank. It was made in Cambridge, in New England, about 1850 — maybe
earlier. The coin container rests on a triple-knobbed stem and a wide circular
foot. Above are crown-like interesting arches, sort of supporting the container.
It's delicate and beautiful, of course, though not very utilitarian.
Hawley: How about
a penny-bank that can really hold a LOT of pennies? Got any of those?
Corby: Oh yes —
one is a little wooden keg bank — by actual count, it accommodates 4,152
like a HEFTY amount of coppers.
and a half POUNDS to be exact. And by the way, some of my banks are "talking
banks" — complete with sayings and mottoes . . . for instance, one of the banks
— made in Philadelphia — is a pottery bank with the inscription — "A penny a day
keeps the poor-house away." Another one . . . a solid silver BARREL has
THIS to say to its owner . . . "The time to save is in the morning of
Hawley: If you'll
forgive the PERSONAL question, Dr. Corby . . . has your collection of
penny banks inspired YOU to save your pennies?
Corby: AND my
dollars — the collection proves that, Mrs. Hawley . . . for I don't pick up my
collector's items . . . for PEANUTS.
Hawley: Well, it's
such an interesting collection and such a fascinating hobby you have, Dr. Corby.
And we're delighted to have you as a guest on the Woman's Page of the
Air. For, if penny-saving is a virtue we all like to see in our children — and
that's why we give them penny-banks to this very day, it's the WOMEN of the
country, who really do most of the SAVING, wouldn't you say?
Corby: I know they
SPEND most of the money in the world — but I guess they are responsible for
saving MOST of what is saved, too.
Hawley: Neatly put
. . . But seriously, even the most extravagant of women are SAVERS today — at
least I hope they are — saving everything from MONEY to kitchen-fats, to
scrap iron and tin cans. And speaking of tin cans, I hope that none of our
listeners, those who live in communities where tin-can collections are made,
have STOPPED saving every tin they CAN. No substitutes have been found for
either TIN or steel and BOTH metals are more and more in demand by our war
industries. Don't be too busy today to get your tin cans ready for the
collection that may take place TOMORROW, Wash every tin can well — remove
the top and bottom and flatten the can with your foot, leaving a slight space
between the two flattened sides. There was a collection of tin cans throughout
New York City yesterday — there'll be others . . . SAVE your tin cans for
THOSE, too. Never throw a tin can away — it MAY mean that because you failed to
save for salvage — you sent one of your own boys to his death. Every tank needs
tin — every bomber needs tin — every ship needs tin. Please save YOURS for your
country. And now I want to thank Dr. Arthur E. Corby, world's most famous
collector of penny banks, for being our guest this morning. I hope we all
remember what Dr. Corby's collection of banks teaches us — that to HAVE we must
SAVE what we have.
Web note: Newspaper
clipping (below) was found inside of the publication
that included the interview with Dr. Corby (above).