|History of Mechanical Banks Told
By CHARLES MESSER STOW.
Black cardboard covers
inclose 146 apparently typewritten pages in a loose-leaf binding, and this
is a book, "Mechanical Toy Banks," by Louis H. Hertz. The publisher is
Mark Haber, 12 Kenwood Road, Wethersfield. Conn., who has issued an
edition of 300 copies (only 275 for sale at $10). Two factors account for
this novel form of a book—scarcity of paper and the clamor of collectors
for the results of Mr. Hertz's research.
He explains in his
introduction that all the material has been obtained from original
sources, much of it from the men and women who were actually concerned in
the manufacture of toy banks, more from authentic documents, factory
records and catalogues. Though other works on the subject have been
published, Mr. Hertz does not think them authentic enough to warrant a
By way of a couple of
iconoclastic pronouncements, the author states: "First, very few types of
mechanical banks were manufactured prior to about 1875. From 1875, through
the'80s and '90s, mechanical bank production soared.... Second. the
twenty-five-yearr period following 1906, which was formerly believed to
have been devoid of banks, was actually the period in which the greatest
quantities of any bank were turned out." Quoting various catalogues the
author shows that many types believed to be fairly old are fairly recent.
By 1926 the cost of iron was slowing down production. The Stevens line was
discontinued in 1928 because cap pistols were more profitable to make.
Thus, though toy banks
cannot be called antique, those who collect them wi1l not worry, because
the great number of styles and mass production insure good hunting. Though
there is no index, the chapters cover thoroughly the makers and their
products, and the work as a whole is a
practically complete history of the manufacture of mechanical banks in