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Watch Bank (metal stamping)
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - October, 1971

71-10.JPG (20077 bytes)A bank just about the size of a regular pocket watch is our choice as No. 204 in the numerical classification. This is the Watch Bank (Metal Stamping) and it’s a nice little toy savings device that has particular interest with respect to the considerable amount of wording on both the front and back of the case. The front, as shown on the photo, represents the face of a watch. The hands are set at 8 minutes past 10. Between the hands appears "Chase Poverty". Under the hands is inscribed "Check Waste Create Thrift". Below this in the second hand circle is "Copyright Patent Apd’." In the middle of the circle in a diamond-shaped section appears "C.L. Russell, N.Y." An inverted horseshoe is inscribed on the back of the case in the center. Around this appears the following wording: "Holds 25 Dimes’ — ‘Just Fill It’ — ‘It Will Open’ — ‘Then Relock’."

In the normal routine this is an unusual amount of information to have appear on a bank and as it turned out most helpful in establishing its time period or age. Even more helpful, the writer had a real stroke of luck when in operating the bank, using 25 dimes, it automatically opened and inside was the original paper label with the following instructions:

"How to Relock This Bank

"Place the lip, on the bottom of this case, in the slot, in the other case, under the figure 5; bring the two cases together so that the rings over the figure 12 meet; press, and the bank is locked again.

"Charles Lee Russell,
199 Cook St.
Brooklyn, New York"

The writer contacted the Brooklyn Public Library and through the use of their excellent microfilm files of the Brooklyn telephone book a listing for "Russell, C. L. Metal Novlts. 199 Cook Street’ was found in the 1920-21 edition. The 1923 edition has this listing — "Russell, Chas. L., Mfr. Savings Banks, 199 Cook." This same listing ran through 1925 and that was the end of it. So the Watch Bank (Metal Stamping) was made sometime during the period of 1920 to 1925. Just to double check, the writer then reviewed possible patentees by the name of Russell in a time period well before 1920 and well after 1925, but no Charles Lee Russell with a bank patent was found.

The bank shown is in extra fine original condition with the nickel plate finish in nice shape. It is, as stated in its chosen name, a well made metal stamping. It is definitely in the mechanical category with spring mechanism inside, opening automatically, and so on. The operating mechanism is the same principle as the Safety Locomotive, HOBBIES, September, 1960, and somewhat comparable to the operation of the Thrifty Animal Bank.

The bank under discussion makes an unusually nice companion piece to the Watch Bank (Dime Disappears), HOBBIES, February, 1970. They make an interesting pair of banks to have in a collection.


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