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Paddy and the Pig bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1965

65-04.JPG (14046 bytes)A most unique situation whereby four different mechanical banks all share the same patent papers confronts us as we reach No. 129 in the numerical classification. This bank is Paddy And The Pig, and it is the fourth one so far to be covered by Patent No. 262,361. Another, The Elephant And Three Clowns on Tub, appeared in the October, 1963, issue of HOBBIES. Previous to this was the article on the Reclining Chinaman, HOBBIES, December, 1959. The one remaining is the Frog Bank which will be taken care of in its proper order. All four of these mechanical banks under the same patent share similarities while still being completely different appearance-wise. One similarity is that each bear the following patent information on the base plate: "Eng. Pat. July 28, 1882 —U.S. Pat. Aug. 8, 1882." All, of course, have somewhat similar mechanical action and mechanism which are covered by the single patent, however, the one under present discussion is by far the most mechanical of all of them with its greater number of moving parts. As a matter of fact, Paddy And The Pig is one of the great mechanical banks with unusually clever fine action. It is a realistic type bank with excellent timing as it is an unusual occasion when the coin does not enter the bank properly during the action.

James H. Bowen of Philadelphia, Pa., was the inventor and designer of Paddy And The Pig. It was manufactured by the J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Conn. They pictured it for sale in a number of their catalogs and at the time the name "Shamrock Bank" was used. This name, of course, gave no clue as to its appearance, action, or anything else. In later years, since this name was not imprinted on the bank itself, the present name came into usage to better identify it for what it represents.

The Paddy And Pig shown is in exceptionally fine original condition with excellent original paint. Colors are as follows: The base upon which the large figure of Paddy is seated, legs extended, is a grass-like effect in green with some yellow highlighting. Beside the figure under the right knee there is a tan knapsack with a brown stick through the knotted top. A brown jug protrudes from his left rear pocket. Paddy is wearing a dark green jacket with a black collar and cuffed sleeve buttons in gold. His tie is brown and yellow and the handkerchief in his breast pocket is tan with red dots. His breeches are yellow with black buttons, and he has bright red ribbed knee socks. Shoes are black with large buckles in gold. His hat is gray with a black band. Seemingly held in place under the hat band are two items—a large green shamrock on the front and a white clay pipe on the right side. He has black hair with bushy extended sideburns. His eyelashes and eyebrows are also black. His eyes are white with brown iris and black pupils. He has white teeth and pink lips and tongue. His large face and hands are a flesh color pink. The figure of the pig is all white with black spots. His mouth and under-ears are pink, and he has tan hoofs. The top of his snout is gold and the rope binding his right front leg is tan. As can readily be judged from the description of all these parts and their colors, Paddy And The Pig is a very bright, attractive, colorful bank. This bank normally has a definite appeal the moment anyone sees it.

To operate the bank, a coin is placed, as shown in the picture, on top of the pig’s snout. A lever, located in the back end of the bank, is then firmly depressed. In so doing the left front leg of the pig kicks toward his snout and hits the coin knocking it back toward Paddy. Simultaneously with this action, Paddy rolls his eyes upward, opens his mouth and sticks out his tongue. The coin shoots on to his tongue and slides thereon into his mouth and on down inside the bank. Upon releasing the lever all parts return automatically to the positions as shown in the picture.

It bears mention that Paddy’s lower jaw is hinged in such fashion that his mouth opens realistically and his tongue really protrudes when he sticks it out. Paddy And The Pig is a fine action bank, well designed, and the coin seldom misses its target.

In closing, a rumor from some years ago that still persists here and there today about Paddy And The Pig should be set straight for the records. This has to do with the period in which the bank was made. Supposedly some Irish Society felt that the bank was somewhat insulting to the Irish race and requested that production be stopped. There is no foundation for this story to the best of the writer’s knowledge. The bank was made for a period of years and had popular appeal. It is a very attractive, clever savings device and it would take some stretch of the imagination to find it in poor taste or any way derogatory toward the Irish. Most likely the story was started in order to place it in a rarer category than it actually is, that is to say if production had been stopped there would have been less of them made and consequently considerably harder to find an example today. For the record it is difficult enough to find one today as it is, particularly so in the condition of the one pictured.


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