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Indian and Bear Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - August, 1966

66-08a.JPG (23561 bytes)

A mechanical bank with a very fine representation of an Indian is our choice as No. 148 in the numerical classification. This is the Indian And Bear Bank, one of the three known mechanicals that have an Indian as part of their subject matter. The other two are Chief Big Moon (HOBBIES, March, 1965) and the World’s Fair Bank (HOBBIES, April, 1966). As can be seen in the photo, Figure 1, the Indian is exceptionally well detailed with a handsome set of feathers down his back, tomahawk in his belt, buckskin trousers, feather headdress, and so on. It bears mention at this point that when one of these banks turns up the back feathers are more often missing than not. There are two reasons for this — they are not too securely fastened to begin with, and they are rather fragile and subject to easy breakage.

Patent papers may exist on the Indian And Bear, but so far the writer has been unsuccessful in locating them. On the underbase of the bank pictured there appears in large block letters the wording ‘Pat. Pend’g.’, but this is of no help other than the possibility that a patent was granted. There is every likelihood the Indian And Bear was designed by Charles A. Bailey, although we did not include it among his banks in the article titled "Bailey’s Banks" (HOBBIES, February, 1963). The bank was made by J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Conn., and was one of their good sellers and popular for a number of years.

66-08b.JPG (5440 bytes)The bank pictured, Figure 1, is completely original and in fine condition. The bright attractive colors are as follows: The base is green with a dark brown tree stump. The Indian wears a red jacket with yellow fringe down the sleeves. He has a string of white animal teeth around his neck and yellow, blue and white feathers in his headdress and down his back. A loop in brown hangs from his right arm, the gun is black, and his moccasins are brown. The tomahawk in his brown belt has a gold hatchet head and brown handle. He wears tan buckskin trousers with yellow fringe down the side. The bear is an all over light brown with red mouth and white teeth and eyes. His claws are black and a green trailing vine up the right side of the bear completes the coloring.

The bank as shown in Figure 1 is ready for action. The gun mechanism has been set and the coin placed on top of the barrel. The lever on the base between the legs of the Indian is then pressed. The gun fires shooting the coin into the bear. The Indian raises his head and the bear opens his mouth. On releasing the lever the bear closes his mouth. The gun must be reset for further operation.

Now please refer to Figure 2 and what the writer hopes will prove to be a pleasant surprise to a number of readers of these articles. Pictured is an original advertising card or flyer of the Indian And Bear Bank. Last month’s article, July, covered advertising cards in detail. In any event, some years ago the writer was fortunate enough to obtain from Mr. Frisbee of the J. & E. Stevens Company a limited number of original Indian And Bear cards. His good fortune will now be shared with 20 HOBBIES readers. The first 20 letters received by the writer will be given one each of these original cards.

All letters must be postmarked on or before July 30, 1966, and accompanied by a stamped self-addressed envelope. Letters postmarked after July 30th, will not be eligible. Send to F.H. Griffith, P.O. Box 10644, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15235.


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