Hen and Chick Bank
Farm and country life is accurately depicted by a limited number of the mechanical banks, and while this is a most appealing subject matter, it is surprising how few banks were made utilizing this theme. Only two banks of the 103 covered by the series of articles to date fit into this category. One is the Milking Cow (HOBBIES, August 1953), a fine, particularly desirable mechanical bank, and the other is Uncle Remus (HOBBIES, October 1953). A possible third border-line bank is the Squirrel And Tree Stump (HOBBIES, July 1960). As we reach No. 104 in the numerical classification of mechanical banks we have chosen the Hen And Chick which well represents this group. The other rural type banks to be dealt with in future articles are Mule Entering Barn, Boys Stealing Watermelons, Boy Robbing Birds Nest, and possibly the Rooster and several of the Rabbit banks. These banks comprise the comparatively small group representing farm and country. It is interesting to note that this same condition exists in the horse drawn cast iron toys as well. Those such as the Hay Rake, Mower, Plow, and Hay Wagon are rather scarce and there were not many different types made. One of the Royal Circus toys is a farm type and it is a scarce article. This is the Farmer Van Wagon and it has a rather large head of a farmer that moves up and down, in and out of the top of the van. In any event, it has always seemed somewhat unusual to the writer that the rural theme with its very definite appeal was not more widely used as a subject matter for mechanical banks as well as cast iron toys.
Charles A. Bailey, probably the best and greatest of all the designers of mechanical banks, was responsible for the Hen And Chick. This, of course, is only one of the many banks that he designed and patented. As a point of interest, he is credited with the Milking Cow and he definitely designed the Boy Robbing Birds Nest. As a matter of fact the writer has Baileys original sketch of the Boy Robbing Birds Nest, and it was apparently his first intent to call the bank the Robber Bank since this name is shown on the bank in the sketch. Bailey patented the Hen And Chick October 1, 1901 as a design patent. He assigned the patent to J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Conn. The bank as made by Stevens is practically identical to the design patent drawings.
The bank shown is in what one would term mint condition and was obtained by the writer years ago in New England. It is painted in bright attractive colors. The base is an overall green with blue and yellow flowers and highlighting of leaves and stems in a gold bronze. The large hen is white with red comb and wattles, yellow eyes and a brown beak. On one side the yellow head of a small chick is peaking out from under her wing, and on the other side there are heads of two chicks in the same fashion. The little full-bodied chick that comes forward from under the hen (not shown in the picture) is yellow with small black eyes and a brown beak.
To operate the bank a coin is placed in the provided slot in front of the hen as shown in the picture. The lever is then turned over in the direction of the rear of the bank. In so doing the hen starts to cluck, opening and closing her beak rapidly, then the little chick springs forward from under the hen and pecks the coin into the bank. At the same time, the hen bends her head down as though watching the chick. Releasing the lever returns all working parts to the position shown in the picture.
In conclusion, the Hen And Chick Bank certainly has a definite charm about it. Its a most attractive bank and the addition of the Bailey touch very definitely adds to its desirability.