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Toad On Stump
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - May, 1979

79-05.JPG (19270 bytes)

The J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut, can factually be referred to as the pioneer in the field of cast iron mechanical banks. Not only that, but they made more mechanicals than anyone else and a greater variety of different types. These included a wide range of subject matter. That is to say, their mechanicals represented so many interesting actions of people, animals, and objects.

Stevens was very fortunate in having some of the top designers of mechanical banks in their organization. These included Frisbee, Hall, Bowen, and Bailey, to name a few. While, in the main, they designed all banks as children’s toys for savings, nevertheless, numbers of their mechanicals have political overtones, some are historical, and some racial. Political banks include the Tammany, as well as the Bread Winners Bank with its additional racial aspect. A couple of other anti or racial banks are the Bismark Pig and the Reclining Chinaman. Several historicals include Teddy And The Bear, World’s Fair, Called Out, North Pole, and U.S. And Spain. These mechanical banks with a message on the part of the designer are in the minority and a far greater number were designed in a lighter vein. Banks in the lighter mood included as subject matter play, work, sports, comics, nursery rhymes, circus, and animals in a great variety of actions from somewhat complex to rather simple.

As we reach No. 276 in the numerical classification, we have chosen a most attractive simple action bank of Stevens manufacture. This is the Toad On Stump and, like all Stevens banks, it is well designed, a fine smooth casting, and well decorated.

The bank shown is in excellent original condition painted as follows: Toad is a dark green with brown around the white and black eyes. The inside of his lower jaw is red and the underside is a cream color. The tree stump is brown with green and gold decorations of plant life. On the bottom side of the stump there is a black turtle with yellow markings on his shell. The perforated base plate of the bank is the same color brown as the stump. A conventional Stevens Feb 2 1875 round coin trap is in the base plate. By the toad’s left hind leg there is a section of tan on the stump, the same tan is also on a small section just under the toad’s mouth. All in all, a bank with a pleasing realistic appearance.

To operate, a small lever by the right hind leg is pressed down. The mouth opens and coins are deposited therein. On release of lever the mouth closes.

The bank is 2-7/8 inches high. Width at the base is 3-5/8 inches and depth at base is 4 inches.


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