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Patronize the Blind Man and His Dog
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - March, 1955

55-03.JPG (30640 bytes)

A sentimental bank with an appropriate object lesson is chosen to occupy the 34th position in our numerical classification of the mechanical banks. The bank, Patronize The Blind Man And His Dog, is a well conceived idea with good action directly relating to the subject matter.

W.H. Lotz of Chicago, Illinois, was granted a patent on the bank February 19, 1878 under No. 200,402. The J. and E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut manufactured the bank and they made a number of changes in the actual bank as compared to the patent pictures. The basic idea and mechanism was adhered to, however. It’s very probable that Mr. Lotz had planned that the bank be made of tin judging from the patent papers and pictures. The Stevens Company undoubtedly made necessary changes in the design to better use cast iron in the manufacture. This was not an uncommon practice as various of the mechanical banks when manufactured were changed from their original patent. Manufacturing techniques, improved design, and better operation often were contributing factors in making changes from the original patent. However, it’s interesting to note the large number of banks that adhered to their original patents when manufactured.

The bank shown was recently obtained by the writer through the good help of Mrs. Mary Gerken of Allison Park, Pa. who has a fine collection of mechanical banks. It is in good condition and entirely original with the exception of the dog. This part was obtained from Mr. A. W. Pendergast who went to some trouble to see that the repair was done properly. The original dog had been broken from the top of the lever. The lever with its original paint was submerged in water and the dog was fastened to it by means of melting cast iron between the two parts. In this way the original paint on the lever was left intact.

The paint on the bank is very good and the colors are as follows: The brick part is red with white striping between the bricks. The base, the small peaked roof and the curved rail are blue. The dog is black with white spots and the man is dressed in brown trousers and a blue coat. He has a red bandage over his eyes. The background space for the lettering is a very light blue and the lettering itself is painted the same blue as the base.

It might be well at this point to stress the fact that not all specimens of any particular bank were necessarily painted the same. In some cases certain banks were painted exactly the same throughout the time of their manufacture and therefore all examples found are alike. However, there are some of the banks on which the manufacturers occasionally changed the color scheme. An example of this is Professor Pug Frog with red lettering on white drapery, and then white lettering on red drapery. The coloring on the individual banks is important and in some cases a helpful clue to the authenticity of the particular bank. Patronize The Blind Man is a bank that has been found in two different color combinations, but in both cases the brickwork has been red and white striping between.

The operation of Patronize The Blind Man is quite clever. First a coin is placed in the hands of the blind man as shown, then a lever in the back is pressed toward the small peaked roof building. This lever is fastened to the dog and causes him to move forward. As he reaches the coin he clamps it in his mouth, taking it from the blind man. The dog continues forward, drops the coin into the bank, and automatically returns to his original position. The dog’s mouth is opened and closed by the movement of his tail as he travels over the curved track. The track has indentations that move the tail up and down at the proper time. Coins are removed by means of a small round trap in the base of the building. On the back of the building is inscribed the patent date, February 1878.

The number of Patronize The Blind Man And His Dog banks in various private collections is fairly limited. It is far from being an easy bank to find as any collector who doesn’t have one knows.

 

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