Old Mechanical Banks
A comprehensive study of the subject of mechanical banks, with illustrations.
By INA HAYWARD BELLOWS, 1940
Selected Photos - Part 1 of 2
"Mechanical Alms Box": (by courtrsy of the Metropolitan Museum). Perhaps the oldest known bank is the mechanical alms box, which is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York City. It is made of pottery glazed green, showing a little bear (badly broken) on top of the box, bowing when a coin is deposited. It was made in the Han Dynasty between the years 206 B.C. and 220 A.D.
"The Blacksmith Bamk": A very rare one with its clear cut figure of the "Village Blacksmith", with his hammer and anvil. He stands before his forge, the pointed end of the anvil serving as a trigger, and the penny being forced into the anvil by a blow from his hammer. The rareness of this bank, its excellent condition, and its fine workmanship, place it in a class with the best of banks. This bank is covered with Patent papers No. 80443, and is the only one of its kind ever made. This bank is owned by James C. Jones, of Cleveland, Ohio, who has one of theoutstanding collections in the United States. A Class "F" bank.
"The Wooden Two Faced Boy": The bank as will be seen by the title is made of wood. When the lever is pressed a tongue protrudes from each face to receive the coin. The action is similar to quite a number of the cast iron banks. The trick drawer will be noticed at the base of the bank. A rare and unusual bank. A Class "E" bank. (From the collection of Jas. C. Jones, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.)