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Two Exceptional Still Banks
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - October, 1976

76-10.JPG (12092 bytes)

We thought we would break up the routine of mechanical banks, which we haven’t done for some time, and take a change of pace with two very fine interesting still banks. A number of collectors of the mechanicals also collect or have a certain interest in selective still banks. And, of course, there are many collectors of the stills only, some of whom have very extensive collections. As compared to the mechanicals insofar as numbers are concerned, still banks offer a much greater field. There are literally thousands of still banks in varying degrees of importance and material, and there are some exceptionally fine still banks, with those made of cast iron, generally speaking, being the most desirable.

Pictured herewith are two particularly fine stills, the Horse On Wheel Platform in cast iron and the Sewing Machine in sheet metal. Each would seem to be somewhat hard to come by and could be classed in relative rarer category of still banks.

The Horse shown is one of the finest detailed castings the writer has ever seen in a bank. All indications are that it was made by Kyser & Rex of Philadelphia, Pa., probably circa 1880 to 1890. The bank very definitely has things in common with the excellent Apple Bank made by Kyser & Rex, one of the best of the stills. The Horse also has comparative features to some of the mechanicals made by this company. While all this is not proof of the origin of the Horse, it is very definitive and indicative. In any case, it is one of the better stills and a toy bank of handsome appearance. It is interesting to note that it is a pull toy as well as a bank and there is a hole in the front end of the platform to accommodate a string.

It is made in two halves held together by a screw as shown in the photo. The right foreleg is fastened to the platform or base, as is the right rear leg. In removing coins, this right half of the horse stays with the platform. The coin slot is in the top of the head just below the ears. A small spring inside the slot holds deposited coins in the body of the horse. That is to say the coins cannot be shaken out of the slot.

Coloring of the bank is as follows: The overall horse is a rich brown with black tail and mane. The lower part of his legs, including the hoofs, are also black. He has white eyes and red nostrils. The reins are a light tan, as is the saddle. The saddle blanket is blue with red striping. The wide saddle band is white with a red stripe. The base or platform is an all over green with a definition of a tree stump in brown and tan. The wheels are red.

This Horse still bank simply has a lot going for it, veined detail is even shown on the body of the horse — the platform is a well designed configuration of graceful appearance, not just some routine rectangular shape — proportions are unusually good and it is of imposing size being 8" in height and 8" long. The bank was found in the Middleton area of New Jersey.

The Singer Sewing Machine Bank shown is another exceptionally well made item. Rather than an iron casting like the Horse, the Sewing Machine is an unusually well made stamping in sheet iron. Coins are inserted in the slot in the top cover and this is removed by means of a key shown in place in the photo.

This bank was found in Spring Lake, N. J., and according to the information given the writer the original owner had obtained it in the 1910 period. It has the old Singer mark on the top cover — a large S with the long skirted woman at her Singer machine. This is on the front and back of the cover.

The overall cover and top of the bank are a mottled brown giving the appearance of wood. The ornate support legs are black with gold striping. A large S is in gold on each oval section end, and the word Singer appears in gold on the center flat support brace. The treadle is stamped to look as a treadle should.

Here again a very fine still bank of interesting design and appearance. One could say a step above what one might ordinarily visualize as a toy bank. It is comparable in its field of stills to the quite desirable Sewing Machine mechanical, the American Bank.


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