August 27, 1972
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.