Thrift Federal Savings
& Loan Association
1706 Franklin Street
Oakland 12, California
"News O’ Thrift" Vol. 1, Number 5, December, 1951
Hobby Lobby Filled With
on the heels of the invention of small coins and coupled with the human
characteristic to save, came the invention of small home savings banks. Possibly
one of the most fascinating and entertaining of hobbies is the collecting of old
mechanical home banks.
Asked about his hobby display, Mr. Leon Cameto, Oakland foundry operator, said
"I have been collecting for about 9 years, OPA nerves started me. My doctor
said I would have to take it easier. I took it up as a ‘balance wheel’ for
Mr. Cameto now has about 170 different types of mechanical banks and about 400
still banks. All of these are cast iron and are modeled after clocks, animals,
figures, houses and even a potato. The potato bank is called "Pingree
Potato Bank," named after Governor Pingree of Michigan, in office in the
‘90’s. Governor Pingree issued an edict that people were to dig up empty
lots and plant potatoes as an early version of the W.P.A, The potato bank came
out as a memento. Home savings banks and toy banks were used for propaganda
purposes — such as the Breadwinner Bank, the Baseball and
Dentist Banks, all mechanical.
Mr. Cameto’s collection is gathered from across the length and breadth of the
United States. Some of Mr. Cameto’s collection are rare with only a few, and
in some instances no others, in existence today. His research on his hobby
covers investigations into old patents, catalogs yellowed with age and all
Small banks are an excellent way to start a youngster in the way of thrift.
Encourage your child. Bring him with you to see this latest hobby display the
month of January.
Leon Cameto currently displaying some of his coin banks as Thrift’s Hobby
Lobby is shown holding one which is called "Variant Butting Goat and Hungry
Frog." The coin is placed in the hands of man, goat butts him, sending coin
into frog’s mouth and down into the storage area of the bank. This is one of
many on display during January. Come in and see these interesting banks.