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Gem Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - September, 1968

68-09.JPG (28031 bytes)

Following through with our recent discussion of the best of the semi-mechanical banks, Transvaal Money Box (HOBBIES, February, 1968), we are now going into detail on the greatest of the registering banks, the Gem Bank. While not in the mechanical category, considerable interest centers around the Gem since it is a Bailey designed bank and, as we shall see, closely relates to the Perfection Registering (HOBBIES, September, 1959). There is not much question as to the Gem being the most important of all the registering banks and there certainly are quite a number and variety of banks that form the registering category.

The Gem Bank pictured is in the finest original condition that one could ever hope to find, right down to the original paper label as shown in Figure 2. It was patented January 10, 1893, by Charles F. Bailey of Cromwell, Conn., and made by the J. & E. Stevens Company, also of Cromwell. The patent papers covering the bank are of considerable interest since they also cover the Perfection Registering. And, as a matter of fact, the diagrams which are part of the patent show the Perfection Registering. The operation and mechanism of each bank is the same and this is the salient feature linking them to the same patent.

The Gem is quite unusual in appearance, particularly as to configuration, and like most Bailey designed banks very attractive with ornate delineation of vines, flowers, leaves, and so on covering the bank in general. It would be rather difficult to describe the shape or form of the bank and Figures 1 and 2 well illustrate this point. The outline of the bank is unique and the writer feels Bailey had something definitive in mind — just what is still unknown to the writer — if in fact Bailey had a definite purpose as to shape. In any event, the bank is rather attractive and painted in gold and silver — all over gold with highlighting of flowers, vines and leaves in silver. The scale or numbered paper section, from 5 to 100, is a dark-black with numbers and lines in gold.

As to operation, the "Directions for Operating" which appear on the original paper label as shown in Figure 2 cover this very well. The directions read as follows:

"Turn the thumb piece to the top stop; drop the coin in slot; turn thumb piece to the right to bottom stop, and deposit is made. After full amount is deposited, the large dial with stop may be turned to the right, taken off, and cash removed. Before replacing take hold of the money receiver and screw the pointer back to the extreme end of bank, then turn to the right until the pointer comes to the first mark on scale. See that the receiver stands directly up and down, so that first coin deposited will drop into it. Then the Bank is ready to be closed and refilled."

So much for the directions and operation of the bank. The paper label, by the way, partly covers a rather decorative base plate. The word Gem is cast in rather large capital letters, and above this there is the patent date "January 10, 1893."

Now to clarify a situation with respect to the operation of the Perfection Registering (refer to article in September, 1959, HOBBIES). The girl moves from left to right in pointing to the scale and the amount of money in the bank. In other words, just as in the Gem, each coin moves the pointer from the left to the right. It bears repeating that the Perfection Registering is in fact a registering bank, however, since the girl moves with the pointer, this is the basis of its being classified as a mechanical bank. The writer wishes to re-mention, however, that the Gem is a registering bank only and is not and does not have any qualifications to justify it as a mechanical bank. It stands well on its own as being the best and most desirable of the registering banks, and this is a very satisfactory niche for the Gem to occupy.


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