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Symphonion Musical Savings Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - July, 1979

79-07.JPG (15435 bytes)

A recent addition to Wally Tudor’s collection is of considerable interest since it is not only a new find in an old mechanical bank, but also a companion piece to another exceptionally fine bank. It is always a real pleasure to announce the finding of a heretofore unknown mechanical, particularly so with a bank of this caliber, and at present it will be No. 278 in the numerical classification. The bank is the Symphonion Musical Savings Bank, You Pay — I Play, and is a companion piece to the Regina Musical Savings Bank.

The Symphonion is a German made bank circa 1890 to 1910. The records it plays are the same flat type discs as the American made Regina; however, they are 7-5/8 inches in diameter, smaller than those used by the Regina. The winding crank is on the side of this bank (see photos), unlike the Regina with the crank on the front. Also, unlike the Regina, the coin slot is on the back center top, set on a rectangular brass plate. The coin chute mechanism and operation is also different than the Regina. Different too is the lever that holds the records in place, the Regina being horizontal, while the Symphonion is vertical. Note front photo (Figure 1).

The cabinet of the Symphonion is made of nicely grained walnut and well constructed. Rather than a locking drawer for coins as used on the Regina, the Symphonion has a locking full sized wood bottom which swings open for removal of coins. Similar to the Regina are the four corner brass decorations on the front (Figure 1).

The wood ornament top piece is reversible with English wording on one side for the English speaking trade, and German on the other for the German trade. The English side (Figure 1) has the following in gold lettering:

Musical Savings Bank
Made In Germany
The German side (Figure 2) is imprinted in gold lettering as follows:
Musik-Spar-Bank !

As mentioned, this two language name plate is reversible in that the round column ends fit into round holes in the top of the bank. Thus either lettered side can be set to the front.

The music playing part of the bank is the same as the Regina, a single comb with sprocket wheel type units that engage the playing teeth of the perforated disc and then the tuned tines of the comb.

To operate the bank, a record is placed in position as shown (Figure 1) and the mechanism is wound with the crank. A coin, in this case a large size English penny, is dropped into the top slot, the mechanism is activated and music plays. The piece plays one time for each coin.

To those interested, the Regina Musical Savings Bank appeared in HOBBIES, May 1966. Like the Regina, the Symphonion is a large impressive bank and comparable in size.

Wally is to be congratulated for this fine addition to his collection and it’s exceptional to add a mechanical bank of this quality to the list of known old mechanical banks.


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