Certainly the thoughts surrounding a visit to a dentist are not particularly pleasant. However, there is a dentist in New York the writer always finds it a distinct pleasure to visit and he is Dr. Arthur E. Corby, and naturally the visits, in the case of the writer, evolve themselves around the fine collection of mechanical banks in his possession. Also, quite naturally, one of his outstanding favorites is the Dentist Bank which brings us to the 21st bank in our numerical classification of mechanical banks.
The bank, so far as accurate factual background, is pretty much an unknown quantity. Up to now it has been a matter of speculation as to the designer or manufacturer of the bank. There are no markings, patent dates or other types of identification on the bank. Also, no patent papers or catalogs have turned up which would help to identify the bank with a certain designer or manufacturer. The face of the colored patient in the chair is similar to that of the colored man driving the cart on the Bad Accident bank. This bank was made by the J. and E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut.
In both these banks the faces seem to bear a striking resemblance to that of the negro on the Football Bank which was designed and patented by Charles A. Bailey. He also designed several banks that stand on four legs, very much the same as the Dentist Bank. These were The Milking Cow, Football Bank, and the pattern Wishbone Bank. The above isnt really conclusive enough to place the bank as Stevens and designed by Bailey, however, until such time as more conclusive information does turn up it will serve as a possible clue to the origin of the bank. The date of the bank is in the 1880 to 1890 period.
The bank shown is in original condition with no repairs and the paint is practically mint. The writer has had several Dentist Banks over the period of years of collecting before obtaining the fine specimen above. Usually, due to operation of the bank, the arms of the colored figure in the chair were broken and thus missing when one was found. These can be replaced, of course, but while this doesnt affect the value of the bank greatly, its always better to have one in original condition.
The bank operates as follows: A coin is placed in the left pocket of the dentist, the lever located at the feet of the figures is then pressed. The figure of the dentist falls backward against the gas bag and the coin drops from his pocket into the bag which is the coin container. In the dentists right hand is a pair of extractors and in these is a large tooth. As the dentist falls backward the negro also falls over backward in the chair, throwing his arms up at the same time. The patient is fastened to the chair back and this tilts over with the figure. Both figures are then reset together as shown and the bank is ready to operate again. The coins are removed by removing a screw which holds the gas bag to the base of the bank.
The bank is painted in attractive realistic colors. The base is gray with gold legs and red footrest, the chair is maroon with gold trim and red cushion and back. The gas bag is brown. The dentists coat is black, his trousers gray, and he has heavy black sideburns and mustache. The darky has gray trousers and a yellow shirt.
All in all, the Dentist Bank is a very attractive addition to any collection, and from an action standpoint it is particularly outstanding. It is hard to find in good condition and its a favorite of many, dentist or not.