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August 27, 1972

Toy Banks Guide To U.S. History

All Kinds of Mechanical Toy Banks Are Displayed at
Perelman Antique Toy Museum in Philadelphia

Girl Skips Rope on This Mechanical Bank

     A view of American history through toys can be had at the Perelman Antique Toy Museum in Philadelphia. The museum features what it bills as the largest collection of mechanical toy banks In the nation.
     Visited by more than 25,000 persons in 1971, the new museum was established by Leon J. Perelman, the president of a paper products company. He began collecting the 2,500 still, animated, and mechanical toys in the museum less than 20 years ago.
     Exhibited in glass-encased areas, tin and cast steel toys and dolls represent a cross section of Americana from the end of the Civil War to the 1920's.
Searches for Toys
     Perelman, who has been president of the Mechanical Bank Collectors and the Antique Toy Collectors, said he searched for old toys when he traveled for business or pleasure.
     The "gems" of the museum, according" to the owner, are the 225 mechanical banks. He considers the collection the largest of its kind. He pointed out that there were only 243 types of American mechanical banks.
     Each bank performs a mechanical action or stunt. The idea is to impress thrift upon youngsters while amusing them with depictions of historical, legendary, and everyday events.
     A popular example of the novelty is the William Tell Bank which has Daddy Tell aiming his crossbow "loaded" with a penny at an apple resting on his son's head.
     When the right foot of William is pressed, a paper cap explodes. The penny flies over the apple and lodges within the castle bank behind Junior Tell. The bank was manufactured in 1896 by a firm in Cromwell, Conn.
Teddy Takes Aim
     Another model is the Teddy and the Bear Bank, made in 1907. It depicts Teddy Roosevelt taking aim with his rifle. When a lever is pushed, Teddy fires a coin into a tree stump, causing a bear to drop out of a tree.
     Other exhibits show scale model engines, cap pistols, stagecoaches, hansom cabs, and items representing the trend in toys since the Civil War.
     Perelman, who opened, the museum in an old four-story brick home, often acts as a guide for visitors.

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