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Elephant with Tusks on Wheels
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - July, 1967

67-07.JPG (27681 bytes)

Discovery of a heretofore unknown mechanical bank is always of great interest to all collectors of these desirable toy saving devices. The bank we have chosen as No. 158 in the numerical classification, Elephant With Tusks On Wheels, more or less comes into this category. The terminology "more or less" is used simply because the bank has apparently laid dormant and unnoticed in one of the pioneer collections for some years. The collection was that of Andrew Emerine of Fostoria, Ohio, and the writer had no recollection of seeing the bank in his collection in years past. There’s no doubt, of course, that he simply overlooked it. In any event, Edward Mosler, Jr., purchased the Emerine collection in recent times and not too long thereafter the bank came into the writer’s possession through the good help of Mr. Mosler.

The bank pictured is similar to, with marked differences, the Light Of Asia (HOBBIES, October, 1956) and the Jumbo Bank (HOBBIES, January, 1962). All three, in the writer’s opinion, were undoubtedly made by the same concern. The differences are quite obvious when the Elephant With Tusks On Wheels is compared with the other two. There’s no name on the bank for one thing and for another the elephant has tusks. The platform on which the elephant stands is entirely different and the four wheels are in slots in the platform itself. The wheels are not heart type, but rather a conventional spoke type. They are smaller in diameter, necessarily so as to fit the slots. The blanket, while shaped like that on the Jumbo, has different edging and design work thereon.

The operation of the three banks is identical — a coin inserted in the back of each respective elephant causes the head to nod up and down. All three also share the desirable feature of being pull toys, as well as mechanical banks. The figure of the elephant in each case is the same size and shape. When displayed together the banks form a unique, attractive, interesting group.

Colors vary somewhat on each bank. The Elephant With Tusks On Wheels has the same green color base, but there is no gold highlighting as on the other two. The elephant is painted a similar brown to that of Jumbo. He has large white eyes with black pupils, a red mouth, and white tusks. His blanket is red with yellow edging or fringe representation. Complete colorings on the Jumbo and the Light Of Asia have already been covered in their individual articles. All three elephants, by the way, are fastened to their bases in the same fashion — by means of bent-over lugs cast in the right front and left rear legs.

The date of manufacture of the Elephant With Tusks On Wheels is well established by an 1885-1886 Salchow & Righter Catalog, which has a nice picture on Page 11 advertising the bank for sale. The old catalog picture is practically identical to the photo of the bank shown. Above the catalog picture appears the simple wording "Elephant Bank." Below the picture, quoting from the text, appears the following:

"Size 3 in. high, 4 in. long, 2 in. wide 48. The animal moves his head when a coin is deposited. It is a toy as well as a bank. Painted natural colors and packed one-half dozen in a box.


The writer has had this old catalog in his possession for years and often wondered if in fact a bank was made like this, or if it was an unintentional misrepresented picture used to illustrate the Jumbo. To explain the writer’s point — on Page 9 of the same catalog the "Kicking Mule Bank" is pictured for sale. The picture used is that of the toy Kicking Mule, not the bank. While similar in appearance, they are quite different. In any event, this semi-mystery is now cleared up and we know that the Elephant With Tusks On Wheels is an actuality.

In closing, it bears mention that the writer is now convinced that partial confusion by early collectors as to the proper heart wheels on the Jumbo often resulted in their mistakenly replacing them with the improper wheels of a spoke type. The Jumbo and the Light Of Asia were made with the heart type wheels only, to the best of the writer’s knowledge. He has never seen what could be considered original wheels of any other type on either bank.

A final note — the Elephant With Tusks On Wheels should be further up (lower number) in the numerical classification, along with the Light Of Asia and before Jumbo. As mentioned in previous articles with regard to banks in the same circumstances (recent new discoveries, and the like), there isn’t much we can do about this as after all they are the exception, not the rule, and must be included in the classification articles.


Correction: The illustration of "The Give Me a Penny" bank in the June issue was erroneously printed upside down. Sorry!


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