As we reach No. 64 in our numerical classification of mechanical banks we are again confronted with a bank whose background is an unknown quantity. This bank, the Bow-ery Bank, has unfortunately no definite characteristics, markings, or identifiable clues that would lead to any particular designer or manufacturer of mechanical banks.
The bank shown is from the very fine collection of Mr. L.C. Hegarty and it was formerly in the extensive collection of the late Dr. Arthur E. Corby. Here again we draw a blank as to any information about the bank since it is not known where Dr. Corby obtained this specimen. There is one helpful piece of information that establishes the approximate time of manufacture of this bank. In the Selchow & Richter Catalog of 1890 the bank is pictured and offered for sale at $4 per dozen. To the best of the writers knowledge this is the only piece of pertinent information known concerning the Bow-ery Bank.
The bank pictured is in fine original condition and the only defect of any kind is the piece broken and missing from the top. The base and name section are painted a dark green and the lettering of the name is gold. Other decorations of the front are in gold and the outlining around the name section and the decorations at the top are in red. The back or rear section of the bank has ribbed sides and symmetrical pattern perforations. This entire section is painted with a brown type of varnish. The round section above and between the two bank teller type window openings has a paper label thereon. Unfortunately whatever printing appeared on this label is now illegible. Possibly this consisted of instructions as to the operation of the bank.
The operation is quite simple but effective. A coin is inserted in the provided slot on the ledge of the window shown on the right in the picture. In dropping into the bank the weight of the coin causes both dogs to bow toward each other. The dogs then return to the position shown in the picture.
The mechanism inside the bank is made of wood. This consists of a wooden slide which is caused to move or pivot by the weight of the coin. The paper dog in the right window is fastened to one end of this wooden slide. A small movable block of wood with the paper dog fastened thereon is located in back of the other window. This small block is fastened by a wire to the movable wood slide in the right window. This mechanism causes the dogs to bow when contacted by the weight of a coin.
The pictures of the dogs are of interest. They are printed paper in black and white. The dog in the right window has a monocle in his eye and is of the dude type. The other dog is a rough character type with his eyes squinted and his mouth twisted. Some kind of name or lettering appears over each dog in the curved section of each window. Unfortunately in both cases this lettering is not legible.
The Bow-ery Bank is most certainly a rare item to have in a collection since the specimen under discussion is the only one known to exist. This point in itself certainly recommends it as a desirable item to the mechanical bank collector.