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Preacher in the Pulpit Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - August, 1955

55-08.JPG (15469 bytes)

The Preacher In The Pulpit Bank, No. 38 in our numerical classification of mechanical banks is another example of the group whose mechanical operation is caused to occur by the weight of a coin. This is always a very interesting group of mechanical banks since a coin is such a necessary part of the action and essential to the operation. The Preacher In The Pulpit, as well as the Bank Teller Bank, are the outstanding mechanical banks in this interesting group, and, in addition, both are very rare.

There are no patent dates or markings of any kind on the Preacher In The Pulpit, however, it was covered by the same patent papers as those covering the Bank Teller Bank. The action and type of operation is identical in both these banks. It seems to have been generally assumed that the figure of the man on each bank was the same, however, this is not the case as can be seen by comparing the pictured bank with that of the Bank Teller as shown in the classification article covering this bank. The patent papers were issued August 1, 1876 to Mr. A.C. Gould of Brookline, Mass. Until such time that evidence to the contrary might possibly turn up we can attribute the manufacture of the Preacher In The Pulpit to the J. and E. Stevens Co. of Cromwell, Conn. To date, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, there have been no old catalogs or other type of material that picture or refer to the bank to identify it positively with a particular manufacturer.

A note of special interest is the fact that the patent papers as issued to Mr. Gould cover a bank in which the figure of a man would tip his hat in addition to the other action. Apparently this had been given serious consideration when the Preacher In The Pulpit Bank was actually made since the right hand which is raised to the head is a separate casting held in place by a pin inserted through the two-part casting of the arm. It is the writer’s belief that the hat-tipping part of the action was discarded since it would place a strain on the rest of the mechanism whereby the weight of a coin would not be sufficient to cause the bank to operate properly. Also of interest is the point that the bank apparently has been called the Preacher In The Pulpit largely due to the position of the right arm and hand. Actually this has nothing to do with the figure representing a Preacher. The upraised arm had only to do with the man in the act of tipping his hat. In pointing this out it is not the writer’s intent to change the name of the bank. After all, collectors have given the bank its present name and it is descriptive and appropriate under the circumstances.

The bank shown is from the fine collection of Mr. L.C. Hegarty. It formerly was in the collection of the late Dr. Arthur E. Corby. It is in fine condition and the paint is unusually good for such an early fragile bank. The flat unusual shaped base is painted black and the desk-like coin container is red with black outlining. The top of the container is black outlined with gold. The figure of the man has a black coat, gray trousers, and the tray in his left hand is gold. His shirt is white with a blue tie and gold buttons. The face and hand coloring are natural and he has black hair and moustache.

The operation of the bank, like the Bank Teller, is not particularly spectacular. The coin is placed on the tray and the weight causes the left arm to lower. At the proper point the coin slides from the tray into the receptacle shown in the picture. As the arm lowers the man tilts his head forward. When the coin is deposited the arm and head automatically return to their normal position as in the picture. The spring mechanism inside the figure of the man is rather delicate and it must be in perfect working order to operate properly.

All in all the Preacher In The Pulpit is an interesting fine rare bank and like some of the others offers a real challenge to the collector in trying to find one. To the best of the writer’s knowledge the specimen pictured is the only known one to have turned up so far. A main contributing reason for its rarity is the fact that it is a very fragile easily broken bank. Also it is an early item and it’s possible that there were not many manufactured.


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