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Watch Dog Savings Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - June, 1977

77-06.JPG (18655 bytes)

A mechanical bank which is a complete departure from our usual cast iron or tin type mechanical is our choice as No. 267 in the numerical classification. This bank is the Watch Dog Savings Bank and is mainly constructed of wood, with some tin parts for the operating mechanism. Do not confuse this bank with the better known Watch Dog Safe Bank, which is cast iron and has a dog on the safe door. Our present bank is a dog house with dog and the name well displayed on a metal plate over the entrance way as shown in Figure 1.

Once again we have a quite unique mechanical in the Watch Dog Savings Bank. It operates on the basis of sound similar to the Wireless Bank, however, no batteries are involved. The dog house idea is rather unusual for a mechanical and the house itself is mainly made of oak wood and the dog is of some type hard wood.

Actually the company involved in making the bank also made a toy of the same configuration and basic action. Only in the case of the toy it was a somewhat larger dog house and a battery was used to operate the sound responding mechanism. It is from the toy that we are able to date the bank as they were made in the same time period. The paper label on the bottom of the toy states: ‘Manufactured under C. Berge Patents March 11, 1913 and November 10, 1914’. No dates are on the label of the bank as shown in Figure 2. The toy was known as ‘The Wireless Pup’, and according to the label sold for $5.00. Quite a price for a toy of this nature in 1913.

The bank shown is in very nice condition, although the dog’s face is somewhat chipped from usage. A natural occurrence since he scoots so forcefully out of the dog house. The house is a very dark oak and the dog is brown with markings in black and white. The nameplate is silver lettering over black.

The operation, manufacturer, and so on are best described by the large paper label on the bottom of the bank, Figure 2. We quote from this label as follows:


Place the dog on the floor of house. Holding the dog’s head between the thumb and forefinger, push dog back gently against spring flapper until you hear a click and the dog will go no farther — then draw dog forward gently just a trifle. DO NOT JAM THE DOG BACK HARD OR TRY TO FORCE IT FARTHER THAN IT WILL GO. Now place a coin gently in the slot in the top of roof and clap your hands loudly in front of the door (cupping the hands so that the noise is like a bursting paper bag brings the best results.) The dog will jump out of the kennel and the money disappear into the bank in the top of the kennel. A loud call will have the same effect, provided you strike the proper note.

ADJUSTMENT. Every Watch Dog Savings Bank is tested before leaving the factory. Please note, however, this is a sensitive toy Responding to Sound Waves and in shipment with the consequent rough handling the mechanism may get out of adjustment. To remedy this there is an adjusting screw on the back of kennel outside.

If the spring flapper fails to hold when dog is pushed way back, turn this adjustment screw in slightly a little at a time, trying the dog each time until it holds. If the spring holds and dog will not come out when called, turn adjustment screw out slightly a little at a time trying the dog until it does respond.

This adjusting screw controls the sensitiveness of the toy to sound. Screwing in adjustment screw tends to make the dog hold in the kennel; screwing out on adjustment screw tends to make the dog release easier by making it more sensitive to sound. Very slight adjustment is all that is necessary.

TO GET MONEY OUT OF BANK remove one screw from name plate on front of kennel and turn plate down which will show an opening in the bank.

If dog is set on a smooth table he will jump out farther and better than on a rough cloth cover.

Patent Rights Protected
Mechanical Specialty Engineers
273-279 Congress Street Boston, Mass., U.S.A.

All in all, the Watch Dog Savings Bank is a very interesting item and makes a fine addition to a collection of mechanicals. The mechanism is really unique, cleverly made, and the only kind of its type known to the writer. A hard bank to come by and apparently only three are known to exist in collections.


The film, "Penny Lane," is the only photographic study of rare antique Mechanical banks. It is filmed in brilliant color and enhanced by an original musical sound track.

This 10-minute featurette has been lauded by Educators, National and International, Historical Groups, and is the winner of the coveted CINE GOLD Eagle Award.

The film has been purchased by libraries and museums throughout the country and is now available to Collectors, Folk Art and Hobby enthusiasts.

Please specify, 16MM or Super 8 with sound. $200 each. Postage and handling included.

100 West Industry Court
Deer Park, New York   11729

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