Mechanical or animated toy banks were primarily designed to encourage children saving money. The incentive of seeing the bank operate was meant to arouse a childs interest to save. As we reach No. 25 in our numerical listing we come to a bank that has the added incentive of giving something in return for the deposited coin. This is the Confectionery Bank which is also a forerunner of our present day vending machines.
The bank was designed and patented by R.M. Hunter of Philadelphia, Pa., under Patent No. 243048 dated June 14, 1881. It was manufactured by Kyser & Rex also of Philadelphia. This concern was quite active in the production of mechanical banks in the period of the 1890s when the banks were at their peak of popularity.
The bank pictured was one of the first rare banks obtained by the writer. This was in the early stage of collecting and goes back quite a few years. It was found quite unexpectedly in an old antique shop in Plainfield, N.J. The enthusiastic proprietor, an elderly woman, had just returned from an antiquing tour and it was only a matter of hours from the time she had placed the bank on a shelf that the writer stopped in. Needless to say the bank left with him.
It is in excellent original condition with no replaced parts or repairs. To operate the bank properly it is first necessary to place small foil wrapped chocolate pieces in an enclosed compartment provided in the back of the bank. Then a coin is placed in the slot on top of the counter. The lever in the front is pushed and the girl holding the tray turns to the left. As she turns, the compartment marked "Lozenge" opens and the chocolate piece pops out onto the tray. At the same time a bell rings and the coin drops automatically into the bank. When the lever is released the girl returns to her original position offering the candy to the depositor.
The bank is painted in appropriate colors. The curved front is red and blue with gold outlining. The date, Pat. June 1881, appears in a circle on the front and is painted in gold. The back section with the many labeled compartments is yellow and the various names such as lemon, vanilla, coconut, and the like are painted in red. The girl is dressed in red and the tray she holds is gold. The paint on the bank shown is in excellent original condition.
The obvious similarity of this bank to our present day vending machines is of interest. The bank, at the time of its manufacture, had quite an advantage over the others with its added feature of giving the child a reward for saving his money. However, he or she could pull a fast one now and then as it wasnt necessary to use a coin to operate the mechanism. Pressing the lever released the candy at any time and thats where the similarity to our present day vending machines ceases.
With the exception of the larger collections, there arent too many of the Confectionery Banks in existence today and the collector without one has a rather tough assignment facing him.