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Time Is Money Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - May, 1959

59-05.JPG (25936 bytes)A mechanical bank that more or less disrupts the permanency of a classification setup is our choice as No. 74 in the numerical classification of the mechanical banks. This bank is the Time Is Money Bank and undoubtedly it belongs somewhat further up in the listing than the present position assigned to it. Unfortunately circumstances of this nature can occasionally occur by the finding of some heretofore unknown mechanical bank. Also there is always the possibility of a Coasting Bank or a Tommy Bank being found. These are two examples of banks that are known to have been made but to date no specimens have ever been discovered. The Time Is Money Bank more or less fits into this latter category.

The Bank shown is in fine original condition and until the circumstances surrounding the recent occasion of the writer obtaining the bank he had never seen one before. The name of this bank has appeared in some listings and there is said to be another specimen in a collection that has lain dormant for some years. Other than this, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, nothing is known about the Time Is Money Bank.

The bank was found in central Pennsylvania through the good help of an antique dealer. Unfortunately there is no information as to the original source of the bank and nothing could be learned of its origin or background. There, however, is no question but that the concern that made the Bow-ery Bank also produced the Time Is Money Bank. Here again, like the Bow-ery, Time Is Money has no markings, patent dates or any identifying features that lead to any particular concern or individual who made banks. The bank has the same general outline form as the Bow-ery and the back half of each is alike. There is a third bank known that was unquestionably made by the same concern or individual and this is the Chronometer Bank. Here the resemblance with Time Is Money Bank is practically the same, however, the operation and mechanism are entirely different. The Chronometer Bank is known to have been made and sold in 1876 as it appeared in an advertisement in Ehrich’s Fashion Quarterly for the Winter of 1876. The Time Is Money Bank and Chronometer have the same early type of representation of Father Time and it’s fairly safe to assume that Time Is Money was made in the 1875-1880 period. The Chronometer Bank, strictly speaking, is a registering bank and is classed in this category, while the Time Is Money is an actual mechanical bank.

As mentioned above, the bank shown is in fine original condition with good paint. The base ledge, the protruding ledge above the lettering and the top scroll peak are painted red. The lettering and some decoration and outlining are all done in gold. The circular section which represents a large coin with Father Time thereon is a silver color. The rest of the bank is done in an overall japanned type of finish with some highlighting of red in the fluted sections of the sides.

The operation of the bank is quite simple but very effective and unusual. The bank is shown in the picture ready for operation. When a coin is dropped into the provided slot in the top of the bank the large coin section with Father Time spins around to the left and snaps into position after making slightly under a complete revolution. The weight of the coin trips the necessary lever inside the bank to cause this action. The necessity of using a coin plus the fact that the weight of the coin causes the action are both very desirable features. The bank is re-set for operation by turning the coin-like dial clockwise until it snaps into the position shown in the picture. A small brass knob is provided for the purpose of re-setting the dial.

Some points of interest are provided in the large coin-like dial section. Father Time himself is depicted as people visualized him in the period of the 1880’s and he somewhat resembles the devil. He is turning the back of an Indian head cent by means of a crank or lever. Also shown are a shield and an hour glass. The general theme of the bank is quite appropriate—time passes rapidly or spins by so save your money before it’s too late.

The Time Is Money Bank is certainly an interesting early mechanical bank and it well represents the object lesson to save your money. The action is quite different than any of the other mechanical banks and it makes a desirable addition to a collection.


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