Thrifty Animal Bank
The Thrifty Animal Bank, our choice as No. 249 in the commercial classification is another of those border-line mechanicals. It very definitely is not a registering bank while it does share the automatic opening feature that some registering banks do have. It is necessary to use the number of dimes to fill all the acorns, and the tenth dime causes the releasing mechanism to operate for removal of coins. This is similar action to the Safety Locomotive for example, and since the Thrifty Animal has been considered as a mechanical for years, it seems comfortable remaining as such.
The bank was made by the Buddy "L" Company of East Moline, Ill. It is pictured in color in one of their catalogs of the 1920s. Also pictured is the Buddy "L" Savings And Recording Bank. This bank recorded the amount of deposit in a small passbook and as such it is considered a registering bank, not a mechanical.
The Thrifty Animal is a unique bank as actually it is a still bank and a mechanical combined into one bank. That is to say, the coins saved are simply deposited into the back slot on top and are accumulated inside the bank. A round hole is provided for saving bills. Dimes only are used on the front slot to fill the acorns and open the bank. So in effect we have two separate savings sections or compartments. The mechanical aspect confined to the use of dimes as with the Safety Locomotive, but, unlike the Locomotive, a separate savings compartment for various coins. Rather interesting for a heavy tin or sheet iron type of bank.
The bank shown is in mint condition and was found in the original cardboard box. Colors on the bank are as follows: The bottom automatic opening base is red. The top, acorns, and border around the directions are in an orange-red. The background of the front, back and sides are an off-white. On the front the tree trunk and limbs are black with green foliage and the red acorns are outlined in black. The name Thrifty Animal Bank is off-white. The back of the bank shows two light red squirrels under a tree similar to the front, however, there are two large red acorns with no provision for holding coins. In other words, these two acorns do not have holes in them and are just part of the picture or decoration. The left side of the bank has a squirrel on top of some acorns (same colors) saying "Say," then black printing as follows: "Close up the hole in the acorn, you do it only nine times. Then when you put in the tenth one, it makes up a dollar in dimes." The right side has the directions printed in black: "1. Insert coins and bills in openings in top of bank. 2. To open bank insert nine dimes in dime slot. Tenth dime unlocks bank and bottom comes off. Tip lock-bar to remove dimes." On top along the large back slot appears: "All other coins." To the front of the top is the Buddy "L" trademark. Along the front top slot is the statement: "Dimes only." The following is stamped on the underside of the base: "Buddy L Company, Quality Toys, East Moline, Ill." Then "Made in U.S. of America."
There is no question as to the Buddy "L" Company statement "quality toys." They made a fine line of heavy sheet iron toys in extra large size, including cars, trucks, steamshovels, trains, fire trucks, and so on. Then in large size a Model T Ford roadster and truck, along with various others. All these are quite collectible today and becoming increasingly so. Due to their sturdy construction many of their toys have survived in unusually fine condition. This applies as well to their Thrifty Animal Bank, an exceptionally sturdy savings device, rather attractive, and cleverly designed. It does have sort of a so-called modern look about it for an old bank collection, but oddly enough the two squirrels on the back have the art-deco look and, of course, that is a big thing now.