Red Riding Hood Bank
An appropriate and logical source that contributed to the designing and manufacture of a number of mechanical banks were childrens nursery rhymes and stories. The Old Woman In The Shoe Bank previously covered is typical of the nursery rhyme theme. Now as we list the 22nd bank in our numerical classification we come to a typical childrens story theme, that of Little Red Riding Hood.
Actually there is very little known about the origin of the Red Riding Hood Bank, Background and facts are very much lacking as to where it was made, when it was made, the manufacturer, or the designer. It has been generally accepted that the bank was made and designed by William S. Reed of Leominster, Massachusetts, who designed the Old Woman In The Shoe Bank. However, as pointed out in the article covering the Old Woman In The Shoe, the writer met Mrs. Reed and during several conversations no mention was ever made of the Red Riding Hood Bank. The only markings on the bank itself appear on the bottom and these are the words "Pat. Apld. For."
One definite clue is the fact that the side of the bed is identical to the skirting on the chair of the Girl In The Victorian Chair. This, of course, would possibly lead us to Bailey and the Stevens Company. Until such time that more information turns up, its a fair assumption that Red Riding Hood and the Girl In The Victorian Chair were made by the same concern.
The specimen shown is from the fine collection of Mr. Andrew Emerine who was about the first to find an example of this rare bank. It was purchased in Atlanta, Georgia, in the mid 1930s and Mr. Emerine regards the bank among his top favorites in his collection.
Condition-wise, the bank is fine with no repairs and good paint. There is an interesting amount of wear indicating the possession of a child, however with good treatment. The bank is painted appropriately with Red Riding Hood having a red hat, red skirt, and white blouse with red sleeves. The grandmothers face is naturally painted and she wears a white bed cap. The wolfs head, under the face mask of the grandmother, is brown with red eyes. The pillow is white and the bed cover blue and red. The skirting is dull bronze with gold highlighting.
The size of the bank is of interest as it is rather small being 5½" long and 3¼" high. It operates as follows: The coin slot is at the top of the pillow and of course the coin is set in this slot, then the lever, located on the side of the bed below the grandmothers face, is pressed. The coin drops into the bank and the mask of the grandmothers face tilts forward exposing the wolfs head. At the same time Red Riding Hoods head tilts forward and back.
A point of interest is again in connection with occasional liberties taken by some of the bank designers. Red Riding Hood, as can be noted in the picture, has a hat on instead of the traditional hood. These occasional liberties, or possible mistakes, offer an interesting sidelight to the banks wherein they occur.
So far six of these banks have been found, and, of course, they are all in private collections.