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Shoot That Hat Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - November, 1957

57-11.JPG (19804 bytes)

A very unusual bank with an anti-Chinese background is our choice as No. 59 in our numerical classification of the mechanical banks. This bank, Shoot That Hat Bank, also has the possible distinction of being produced by Ives of Bridgeport, Conn., although, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, this has not been conclusively proven.

The bank shown is from the fine collection of L.C. Hegarty. Mr. Hegarty obtained the bank from V.D. Howe, who in turn had purchased it from an antique dealer. This antique dealer was one of the so-called picker type, and any further information as to the original source of the bank is unobtainable. The bank itself is in good condition with some necessary repair work done on the base.

The Shoot That Hat Bank was designed by C.F. Ritchel of Bridgeport, Conn., and patented by him November 7, 1882. The bank was assigned by Ritchel to S.S. and G.D. Tallman, toy jobbers of New York City. The actual manufacturer of the bank is not definitely known, however, it may very well be an Ives product. Ritchel had connections with Ives as borne out by one of his patents covering an animated toy pistol. This pistol is known as the Clown On Powder Keg. It is a firecracker shooter and was patented by Ritchel May 30, 1882, and assigned to Edward R. Ives and Cornelius Blakeslee. The Ives firm, of course, manufactured the pistol and it has the significant type of finish in dark brown varnish commonly used by them. This same type finish is also on the Shoot That Hat Bank, and this, coupled with Ritchel’s connection with Ives, logically leads to a possible conclusion as to the manufacturer. It is, however, also possible that either H.L. Judd or The Mechanical Novelty Works manufactured the bank.

The operation of the bank is as follows: A coin is placed in a provided slot in the water plug in front of the shoe-shine boy. The cloth held by the shoe-shine boy rests against the coin and holds it in place. When the lever is pressed the standing figure clamps the hat down onto the head of the seated figure. The top of the hat rises exposing the face of a Chinaman. Meantime the head of the seated figure is forced downward causing the arms to rise. This releases the coin and it drops between the legs of the figure into a provided slot and on into the base of the bank. Upon releasing the lever the figures return to the position shown in the picture.

As to the paint on the bank, all the figures and the upper part of the bank are a dark brown varnish type of finish. The base of the bank is black, and here again this is a varnish type of finish. The wording "Shoot That Hat Bank" appears on both sides of the base.

It is of interest to note that an animated toy pistol has practically the same name as the bank under discussion. This pistol is called Shoot The Hat, and this name appears on the barrel. Here the action is about the same. A figure clamps a hat on a seated Chinaman and in so doing fires a paper cap previously inserted inside the hat. This toy pistol is, of course, an anti-Chinese item, the same as the Shoot That Hat Bank, and of the same period when this feeling was so prevalent in our country. This pistol was an Ives product.

Ritchel, as a bank designer, apparently shared C.F. Bailey’s subtle designing desire to express the feeling of the times in a child’s toy. In any event, both Ritchel’s Shoot That Hat Bank and Bailey’s Chinaman In Boat are quite rare items and very difficult to add to a collection.


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