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Football Bank (Darky and Watermelon)
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1969

69-04a.JPG (16886 bytes)

Some years ago the classification article covering the Football Bank (Darky and Watermelon) appeared in HOBBIES. This was the April 1954 issue and the writer had not actually seen the bank or had the opportunity to examine it personally and so on. Circumstances at the time did not permit his so doing, which is an unusual, exceptional case.

In any event, we are very pleased to say that Mr. W.W. Tudor of Chicago, Illinois, recently ac-quired a fine example of the Football pictured herewith. The writer through the courtesy of Mr. Tu-dor has examined this bank carefully and thoroughly. On close scrutiny of this important bank a number of features not covered in the original classification article came to light. Therefore, we are now able to go into thorough accurate detail on the Football and also picture it before and after the excellent action.
The bank shown turned up in the New England area and Mr. Tudor acquired it for his rapidly increasing collection shortly before New Year's 1969.

The Football was designed and then patented by Charles A. Bailey, June 26, 1888, and it ranks as one of his top mechanicals showing his fine design work, great action, and clever subject matter. The bank as produced commercially closely follows the patent and drawings with a refinement or two. This has to do with the base standing on four legs or feet (like some other Bailey banks), and the addition of a lever under the base which lifts the football slightly just before the foot of the fig-ure kicks it. More about this further on.

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The Football Bank pictured is in extra fine original paint condition. Gold feet or legs support the overall gray base which has large green leaves and yellow flowers thereon. The sizeable water-melon is green with lighter green definition giving it a realistic appearance. The football and the lever holding same are tan. The hat and shoes of the figure are the same tan as the football, and the hat has a black band. He wears a long blue coat with white shirt, red vest and yellow trousers. The face of the figure has red lips, white teeth, and white eyes with black pupils. This completes the col-oring of a very attractive bank.
To operate the bank the right leg of the figure is first pulled back into position as shown in Fig-ure 1. In so doing his arms and head automatically lower into the positions as shown (Figure 1). The football, fastened to a lever or arm, is then moved into position as also shown in Figure 1. A coin is placed in the provided slot in the football and the operating lever in the coat tails of the figure is then pressed. This releases the kicking right leg and foot, engaging the football and propelling it in an arc to the watermelon as shown in Figure 2. The coin drops from the football into the provided slot in the watermelon which is the coin container. As this action takes place the arms and head of the figure move upward to the positions as shown in Figure 2. The action is quite realistic and most attractive.

An explanation of certain mechanical features are of importance. For one, there is a brass lever under the base, one end of which engages the underside of the lever fastened to the football, and the other end protrudes through a slot in the base between the kicking leg and the football when posi-tioned for kicking. As the foot moves forward to kick the football it first strikes this brass lever pushing it down, which in turn causes the football to lift just before the foot strikes it. This initial momentum relieves the shock of impact and possible snapping of the football from its holding lever. Another mechanical feature has to do with the arms and head of the figure. The arms are con-nected inside to the kicking leg. As the leg kicks forward the arms are caused to move upward. The movable head is free and not connected to the arms, however, the left hand as it moves into position engages the left cheek of the face pushing the head back and momentum plus balance then cause it to assume the position as in Figure 2. Then as the right leg is again pulled back for operation the arms lower and a part on the arms inside the figure gives the head a slight push causing it to drop forward and down (Figure 1). The operating spring for the right kicking leg goes from the underside of the base up through the leg of the figure where it is fastened to an offset on the right leg.

For removal of coins - the watermelon is in two halves held together and to the base by a sin-gle vertically positioned screw. Removing this screw allows separation of the two halves of the watermelon and removal of the watermelon from the base.

In closing, Mr. Tudor is certainly to be congratulated on his acquisition of this fine mechanical bank. It is a great find and enhances his collection considerably. The writer just can't help men-tioning that of the known mechanicals he is looking for, the Football Bank (Darky and Watermelon) is the one he desires more than any other on his 'Want List'. This is a tough challenge when, to the best of the writer's knowledge, the last one to turn up prior to the present one was in the 1940's.

One last point of interest - the same unusual washer-nut single unit as used on the Milking Cow holds the figure of the Darky, by his left leg, to the base. This cast washer-nut combination is unique where mechanical banks are concerned and its use on both banks helps to further confirm the writer's opinion attributing the Milking Cow to Bailey as expressed in the HOBBIES article August 1953 covering the Milking Cow.


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