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Clown on Bar Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1956

56-04.JPG (19115 bytes)The Clown On Bar, No. 45 in our numerical classification of mechanical banks, is another of the type that operates only by the weight of a coin. This, of course, is a very desirable feature and always an additional attraction to any of the banks that operate in this fashion.

The Clown On Bar was manufactured by the C.G. Bush & Co. of Providence, R.I. To the best of the writer’s knowledge it was the only mechanical bank made by them. The Bush Company was quite well known along an entirely different line, and this was the manufacture of kaleidoscopes. They made some very fine examples of these covered in imitation leather with fine brass fittings and walnut stands. They used fine multicolored glass and also employed the use of small glass liquid-filled tubes. These tubes had different colored liquids in them and added greatly to the effect of their kaleidoscopes.

The Clown On Bar Bank is quite similar to the French’s Automatic Bank, or as it is more commonly known, Boy on Trapeze. The similarity, of course, is the fact that both banks have a figure on a bar, and both revolve by the weight of a coin. The Boy On Trapeze, however, makes a certain number of revolutions according to the weight of the coin used. A penny causes the figure to turn once, a nickel twice, and so on. The accuracy of the balance of the Boy On Trapeze is controlled by a counter-balance weight which makes it much more sensitive in its operation. The Clown On Bar makes a number of revolutions regardless of the size or weight of the coin. However, it will operate by using a dime, while The Boy On Trapeze will not operate with a dime.

The bank shown is from the very fine collection of Mr. L.C. Hegarty whose interest, by the way, is shared by his wife, Gertrude. Mrs. Hegarty is quite instrumental in having the collection in top shape by her meticulous efforts in cleaning and working on the banks. The Clown On Bar was obtained by Mr. Hegarty through the help of A.W. Pendergast. It is in unusually fine original condition with excellent paint. The figure of the clown, which is made of tin, is painted an overall white, with red striping and decoration. The rest of the bank, including the two uprights as well as the base, is painted gold bronze, and these parts are made of cast iron. The wording, "C.G. Bush & Co., Prov., R.I." is cast in one side of the bank in simple impressed lettering.

A coin is placed in the wire holder in the Clown’s hand to operate the bank. The weight of the coin causes the Clown to revolve forward on the bar and in so doing the coin falls from the wire holder into the depressed top of the base. There is a large coin slot in the depressed section and the coin goes through this into the base itself. The figure returns to its normal position as shown in the picture, ready for another coin.

The bank is nicely made with diamond-shaped perforations surrounding the sides of the base. The figure is a well-made stamping in tin, and neatly decorated, showing some care in its manufacture. All-in-all the Clown On Bar is an exceptionally nice bank to have in a collection. It’s a difficult item to acquire since very few have turned up so far. There are four specimens known to exist in private collections today.


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