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Little Moe Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - August, 1958

58-08.JPG (19174 bytes)A mechanical bank with a definite flair of politeness is our choice as No. 66 in the numerical classification of the mechanical banks. This bank, Little Moe, actually tips his hat in the process of receiving a coin. It is one of the bust group of mechanical banks and is one of the most attractive banks in this group.

Little Moe is of English origin having been manufactured by Chamberlin & Hill Ltd. of Walsall, England. Here again it is well to point out that the English were outstanding in the production of the bust type of mechanical bank. They excelled in this phase and produced a greater variety of bust types than were made in our country. This is the only group of which this can be said, however, as mechanical banks in the overall picture are distinctly Americana, and English and other foreign types are only a small percentage of the total. In addition to Little Moe, Chamberlin & Hill also produced the Clown Money Box which is also a bust type and about the size of Little Moe. The Clown is appropriately painted an overall white with other decorations in yellow and either red or blue. He has a peaked hat tilted to the side and is somewhat similar in general appearance to our Humpty Dumpty Bank. Chamberlin & Hill also made other banks and a general line of cast iron novelties, such as hat and coat hooks, trivets, sadiron stands, ink stands, paper weights, letter plates, and household hardware.

The Little Moe shown in the picture turned up in England several years ago and another specimen was found in one of our New England States some time ago. This brings to mind the fact that very few English banks turn up in our country. Transversely, mechanical banks of United States manufacture are not uncommon in England. It is known that quite a few of our banks were exported to England and apparently the opposite is true of the English banks imported into this Country. Of course another factor that has direct bearing on this situation is the vast quantity of mechanical banks made in this country as compared to the limited quantity made in England.

The bank shown is in fine original condition with no repairs. The paint is quite good and the colors are as follows: The coat is red with a white collar and blue tie and buttons. He has brown eyes, red lips, white teeth, and his raised left hand holds a yellow hat. The name "Little Moe Bank" is on the back of the bank and the registration number is shown below the name.

To operate the bank a coin is placed in the extended right hand, then a lever located at the rear left shoulder is depressed. As the lever is pressed the right hand raises to the mouth, the tongue recedes, and the coin drops into the mouth. As this action is taking place the left arm moves forward tipping the hat in the polite gesture of thanking the operator for the coin. The eyes also roll back during the operation. Upon releasing the lever the various parts of the figure automatically return to the position shown in the picture. As a point of interest it might be well to explain that the hat is directly fastened to the working mechanism and tilts forward of its on accord. The left arm movement is therefore actually caused by the hat, however, to all appearances the opposite effect is given.

Little Moe is a very desirable, attractive bank and so far there are three specimens known to exist in private collections.


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