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THE NEW YORK SUN, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 1946, page 25

Savings Official Loses Money in Banks

Itís Childrenís Mechanical Depositories,
Circa 1900, That Rob Him

Robert J. Christensen, assistant secretary of the Franklin Society for Home Building and Savings at 217 Broadway, has kissed good-by to more coins of a small denomination lately than he ever thought would be possible in the interest of savings.


William J. Dwyer, president of the firm, shows
Norma Dadswell one of the banks that are 
on exhibition at the office, 217 Broadway.

Christensen, in charge of the institutionís collection of close to a hundred mechanical childrenís banks, circa 1900, has so many requests from curious spectators who want to know how they work that heís bereft of small change practically all the time.

"Iíve lost more money to these darned things," he explained today, laying a nickel on the nose of an iron bulldog with an enormous red collar. Christenson pulled the dogís tail and the coin promptly dropped into its mouth. "There," he said, "thatís gone for good."

The bankís official admitted, however, that he is sort of fascinated himself with the intricate workings of the items in the collection, which number approximately 85 in perfect working condition, plus quite a few which are in the process of repair.


These are some of the nearly 100 mechanical children's banks in the Franklin Society for Home Building and Savings. In this one, the mule bucks, throwing the jockey forward and the coin into a slot.


This soldier takes aim and shoots that nickel into the hollow trunk.
  
  
  
  

     
      
      The mason here 
      leans on the wall 
      and lays a brick 
      as the hod carrier 
      dumps his coin.

Wide Range of Ingenuity

The banks, most of which are made out of cast iron and operated by levers or releases, cover a variety of subjects, guaranteed to tax the imagination of childhood. Prospective depositors are lured by everything from an Indian shooting a coin into a bearís chest to a dog which pops out of a kennel and chases a small boy caught in the act of stealing a watermelon.

"This is a dandy," the bank secretary said, picking up a gadget called "Dark Town Battery," which was composed of a pitcher, batter and catcher. He sprang the release and the pitcher deftly threw a penny into the catcherís "breadbasket," where it disappeared from sight. Isnít that terrific?" Christenson asked.

Other items in the group, which incidentally is valued at approximately $2,000, include the Bricklayer bank, where a mustachioed mason leans on his wall and lays a brick as a hod carrier drops the coin; a mule which bucks, throwing the jockey forward and the money in a slot; and one called "The Horse Race," where two horses gallop around a track at the drop of the silver.

"This might be called a form of gambling," Christensen remarked, adding that "of course we couldnít encourage that."

Patriots and Political Types

On the patriots side, there is Uncle Sam, replete with whiskers and an umbrella, and whose carpet bag opens as he lowers his arm to deposit the moola, while an early repository with a political flavor is one called "Tammany," in which a gent in a yellow vest casually flips a coin into his coat pocket. "No comment," said Christensen.

"These things have it all over the popular piggy banks," he continued. "It was hard to get your money back and they wouldnít break when they were dropped, either. Besides, look at the fun you could have, even if they missed fire occasionally."

The Franklin Society is a mere flap of the wing, as the crow flies from Wall street, where a good many big oaks have grown from the small acorns deposited in mechanical devices like the one on exhibit.

"Many successful men and women of today owe a debt of gratitude to their parents for the toy banks such as those which started them on the right road during their formative years," Christensen declared. To prove his point, he indicated the Wise Pig, a buff-colored number holding a sign which counseled: "Save a penny yesterday, Another save today; Tomorrow save another, To keep the wolf away." Christensen thinks it still is a good advice, even with a modern piggy bank without benefit of mechanics.


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