HERALD, December 1952
Cast Iron Mechanical Banks Pitch, Shoot
Or Just Drop Coins in Fancy Depositories
By GWEN HARRISON, Herald Staff Writer
"I should have been a millionaire's son," declared Dr. Ellias
Freidus, 420 W San Marino island, "I've a procivity for collecting and
hobbies — expensive ones."
He's a home movie fan, an enthusiastic rose grower, but dearest to
his heart is his collection of mechanical or toy banks.
Little banks are ancient as civilization, as Greek and Egyptian
museum collections prove. But Dr. Freidus confines his collection to
American cast iron banks, made by the cast iron stove foundries of the
"I began the collection when I found a William Tell bank in a junk
shop in Miami. I'd seen one when I was a child and I bought this one for
From a shelf in his den he took the bank, propped a nickel on
William Tell's gun, tripped the trigger and the coin flew through the
air, knocked an apple off the head of Tell's son, and deposited itself
into a castle back of the child.
The doctor searched his pockets for another coin, reached for
another bank> "I don't restore the colors or exteriors," he explained, I
just oil the mechanisms. All the banks work."
His vacation trips now are geared to tours where the doctor may
find more of the banks, as through the antique-shop roads of New
"But I'm frustrated by millionaires," he sighed. "They've had their
agents there before me. One collector is Walter Chrysler, Jr. I can't
compare with millionaires."
FAVORITE of Dr. Freidus is "Bird's Nest." Mother bird, coin in beak,
leans forward, spreads wings, baby birds open mouths, coin drops in
UNCLE SAM, coin in hand, deposits it in satchel as his head nods thanks.
WILLIAM TELL bank is tripped by gunner's foot. Coin on gun knocks apple
from child's head into castle.
ONLY ON THIRD PITCH does coin leave pitcher's hand and enter bank under
catcher. Bank made in 1800s.
— Herald Staff Photos