Ding Dong Bell Bank
The Ding Dong Bell Bank, No. 32 in our numerical classification, brings us to another type or group of mechanical banks. This group comprises the relatively few mechanical banks that were made of tin insofar as the main structure of the bank is concerned. Some others in the group are the Plantation Savings Bank, Dapper Dan, Toad In Den, Wireless, Home Bank, Presto, Jocko, Winner, and several of the foreign banks such as the Frog and Snake, and Monkey and Parrot.
The Ding Dong Bell was manufactured by the Weeden Manufacturing Company of New Bedford, Mass., in the period of 1885. The Weeden Company became noted for their manufacture of steam type toys, particularly stationary steam engines and steam trains. They also made a toy steam fire engine that actually pumped water. Their line of toys were very nicely made and the mechanical banks they manufactured were all of similar general design and operated by small clock works.
The bank shown is from the very fine collection of Leon Cameto. It is in excellent all around condition and Mr. Cameto obtained the bank through the good help of Mr. Elliott F. Bishop. It is believed that the bank originally turned up in New Jersey.
The back of the bank is exactly the same as the Plantation Savings Bank with the lettered instructions, the door to remove coins, the lock key, and the wind-up key. On the side of the bank not shown in the picture is the stamped wording A (penny) Saved Is A (penny) Earned, Savings Bank. Instead of the word penny there is a one cent piece shown and then an Indian head penny. The other wording on the bank can be seen in the picture.
The various colors on the bank are attractive and are as follows: The top is an orange red color and the sides are blue with the lettering and coins in gold. The bottom is orange red and made of wood. The boy at the well has a red cap, tan coat, and blue trousers. The well is brown, the bucket orange, the cat is black. The boy with the bell has a white shirt, tan trousers, and red stockings. The bell is gold. The boy on the fence has a red blouse, black hat, white collar, and his pants leg is white. The sky is blue, the tree natural colors, and the fence is dark green. The lettering "Ding Dong Bell" on the front of the bank is in black.
The operation of the bank is as follows: First the mechanism is wound by the key on the back. Then a coin is inserted in the slot shown in the picture. Immediately the boy on the fence starts to wave his hat and the other boy begins waving the bell held in his hand. Meantime the boy at the well gradually pulls the cat out of the well and just before the mechanism stops he drops the cat back into the well. The action takes about 20 seconds and will operate about five times on one winding. Of course another coin must be used each time to start the action.
All in all the Ding Dong Bell is a very attractive good action mechanical bank to have in a collection. Any collector who has one is very fortunate since there are only four or possibly five of these banks known to be in private collections.