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Modern Mechanical Banks, 1935 to Date
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - November, 1969

69-11.JPG (24547 bytes)Following thru with last month’s special article on the Chein Company and their line of mechanical banks, we are now completing the situation with respect to mechanicals that fall into the 1935 and on category — the so-called modern mechanical banks made from approximately 1935 to date. With a few mechanicals in this modern category there is a certain amount of cross-over with respect to the date of 1935. That is to say, a few were made slightly prior to this time and after, but still remain in the modern group. This includes a couple of the Chein banks. This situation will undoubtedly change around 1975 or so and certain of the banks now considered modern will be listed with the older or antique group.

Pictured herewith is a reasonably complete collection of modern mechanical banks excluding the Chein banks. Certainly some of the most interesting ones from the standpoint of action are those operated by batteries. A group of these are on the third shelf from the top and include Poverty Pup, Rover, Mule In Barn, Uncle Sam Hat, the Spookhouse, Schmeckenbecker’s Schnitzel Bank, Dracula’s Bank, The Collector, The Toilet; and on other shelves the two types of the Bowling Bank, Hole In One Bank, Drinker’s Savings Bank, The Clown’s Bank, Haunted House; and since the picture was taken two others — the 8-Ball Savings Bank and Pack Den Tiger In Den Tank. Ruppert The Talking Pig Bank and Talking Piggy Bank, next to Ruppert third shelf from bottom, are also battery operated. All the above banks have excellent action. There are other banks that utilize batteries such as Bambi, Lamp Post Bank, a TV Bank, and a Juke Box Bank, but these are somewhat simple in their action.

In the modern category there are some interesting wind-up types and these include The Spooky Bank, Skeleton Bank, Coffin Bank, Fingers Bank, Mystery Bank, How To Get Wealthy, Musical Automobile, various musical Swiss Chalets, two types of Musical Dancing Clowns, and the Hippo Bank. The Hippo is one of the writer’s favorites. A coin, when placed in position and the lever pulled, is automatically propelled forward into the opening and closing mouth of a hippopotamus.

The space banks provide another interesting group and those include the First Interplanetary Space Bank, several Rocket Banks, Flying Saucer Bank, Satellite Bank, Destination Moon Bank, Strato Bank, Plan-It Bank, Space Launcher, and Rocket Launcher. The space banks at this time have particular appeal since our great accomplishment of the Moon Landing. Some of the earlier space type banks are already hard to come by.

Speaking of modern mechanicals that are as of today quite difficult to add to a collection we would include the Hitler Pig, Dog Coin On Nose, Jack Benny’s Bank Vault, The Lone Ranger, Dog House Bank, Mr. Peanut Vending Bank, Bomb-It Bank, Owl With Moving Eyes, Alligator Swallowing Coin, Woodpecker With Sound, and three Chein Banks — The Church, Uncle Wiggily, and 2nd National Duck Bank.

As with the old mechanicals there is a wide variety of subject matter utilized in the action of the modern group of mechanical banks. Now, of course, we have added interest of the numbers of battery operated types and the space group. To this can be added such recent subject matter as the juke box, television, jackpots, gum ball banks, and others.

The earlier types of modern mechanicals that are closer to the 1935 and World War II period are already quite desirable collector’s items and will become increasingly so as time goes on. Then too some mechanicals made in the 1950’s were not produced in large quantities and these are difficult to find today.

In closing it bears mention that unlike the older mechanical banks that were mainly made in cast iron, the modern group are largely made of either tin or plastic, or in combination. A limited number of the modern mechanicals are made in cast iron, aluminum, and wood. Four of the cast iron mechanicals worthy of mention are the Mary Roebling (Trenton Trust), Birdie Putt, The Catboat, and the Strike Bank (Bowling). The last three made by Utexiqual more or less for collectors.


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