Auction $ 
Sy - Index
Grif - Index
A - Z Index
Slide Show 
 YouTube \


What's New 
Web Notes 
A-Z Index  
Date Index 
European Tin 


Organ Bank, Miniature
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1967

67-04.JPG (25819 bytes)The old time organ grinder and his monkey are brought to mind once again as we reach No. 154 in the numerical classification with our choice of the Organ Bank (Miniature) to occupy this position. To begin, there are four similar but different mechanical banks all with the name Organ Bank thereon. They are all covered by the same patents and made by the same company. First, and the rarest, is the one under discussion. Then comes the largest type organ with the boy and girl on top along with the monkey. Third is the same type and size with a dog and cat in place of the boy and girl. Fourth and last is the single monkey on top a medium size organ with the same action as the monkeys on the two larger type. There is a fifth type organ bank with the same subject matter but not related to this group of four, and this is the Little Jocko Musical Bank (HOBBIES, April, 1960). This bank plays music when the crank is turned, while the Organ Bank group of four all ring a bell or bells. Last of related subject matter are the Monkey Bank (which depicts the organ grinder with the organ and the monkey) and possibly, if one wants to include it in the category, the Organ Grinder And Performing Bear (HOBBIES, February, 1958).

The Organ Bank (Miniature) is covered by two patents and this information appears as follows, cast in raised letters on the underside of the base of the bank:

Pat May 31 81
Pat June 13 82

Above this appears the number ‘235’ followed by four vertical dots. This had to do with the number and assembly of the bank. Both patents, May 31, 1881 and June 13, 1882, were issued to Louis Kyser and Alfred C. Rex of Philadelphia, Pa., and their concern, Kyser & Rex, manufactured the bank. The patent of May 31, 1881 covers a single monkey sitting atop a medium size organ with sound produced by means of pins on a shaft striking a musical fork. The patent of June 13, 1882 covers the large size organ with monkey and the cat and dog. This patent well defines the sound as produced by means of bells, rather than a musical fork, and this feature, along with others, were considered as important over the patent of 1881. While the four different type organ banks were produced under one or both patents, the writer has never seen any with the musical fork sound mechanism. All, to the best of his knowledge, utilized one, two or three bells in their musical sound effect.

The Organ Bank (Miniature) pictured is a fine condition, completely original specimen of this bank. It is one of the smallest of all the mechanical banks and its size can be well judged by comparison with the penny resting in the slot as shown. The paint is in practically mint condition with colors as follows: The organ is an overall brown with outlining of various sections in gold. The star on the front and the leaf-like design work underneath is in silver. The name Organ Bank and the crank handle are in gold. The brown monkey wears a yellow jacket with red trim. He has white eyes with black pupils and a red mouth. His hat is blue with a red plume. A gold tray or plate in his right hand completes the coloring.

The operation of the bank is simple but effective. A coin is first placed as shown in the picture, then the crank is turned clockwise. The monkey revolves counter clockwise and pushes the coin with his tray or plate on into the slot where it drops inside the bank. As the crank is turned and the monkey revolves a bell rings inside the bank. So it is good appropriate action for the subject matter represented.

In closing, it bears mention that the action of the monkey on the Organ Bank (Miniature) is entirely different than those on the other three Organ Banks. In each case of the other three, the monkey tips his hat with his left arm and raises and lowers the coin tray with his right arm, which action, of course, is even more apropos to the subject matter. The Organ Bank (Miniature) is a desirable little bank to have in a collection and is rather difficult to find in comparable condition to the one pictured.

* * * *

Re Kick Inn Bank article (HOBBIES, March, 1967), the third paragraph should read "The Kick Inn Bank was patented February 15, 1921," not 1821.


 [ Top] [ Back ] Up ] 67-05-Griffith ]