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Columbian Magic Savings Bank and
Elephant (Raised Coin Slot)
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - August, 1980

80-08.JPG (22761 bytes)Two mechanical banks with minimal action, one of which has some degree of historical significance, are chosen at this time for the numerical classification. They are the Columbian Magic Savings Bank, No. 288, and the Elephant (Raised Coin Slot), No. 289.

The Columbian Magic Savings Bank, Figure 1, is a representation of the Administration Building at the Columbian Exposition of 1893. This large international fair, the World’s Columbian Exposition, was also known as the Chicago World’s Fair. It was held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. It was dedicated October 12, 1892, formally opened by President Cleveland, May 1, 1893, and closed October 30, 1893. It extended about two miles along the Chicago shore of Lake Michigan numbering 666 acres. There were about 150 buildings, a large amusement center, and approximately 27 million attended the fair. One of the extraordinary attractions was the amazing Ferris Wheel built by George Washington Gale Ferris of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The unit weighed 1200 tons and had 36 cars, each of which held 40 persons. All wheels since then all over the world have been known as Ferris Wheels.

The Columbian Magic Savings Bank, with its connection to the Exposition, was also used as an advertising item as shown in Figure 1. Note the wording in the center of the building "THE HUB" CHICAGO. Underneath this appears the dates 1492 and 1892. Below this along the bottom edge is ADMINISTRATION BLDG COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION. On the back of the bank along the top dome is the name COLUMBIAN MAGIC SAVINGS BANK. Below this on a raised oval appears ‘Magic’ ‘Trademark’. Also on the oval is In Production Company N. Y. The bottom edge on the back shows PATENT PENDING. Quite a bit of wording for a mechanical bank.

The bank shown is in fine original condition being nickel plated with the domed back plate in black. To operate, the drawer on the front manually swings open to the right of the bank. A hinged coin holder or rest comes from the inside of the bank, and when a coin is placed thereon and the drawer closed the coin disapears and drops inside the building. A very nice coin trap is provided in the base plate of the bank. It is a double combination dial. The bank is shown in the 1895 Montgomery Ward Catalog at 25c each, without the Hub advertising, of course.

We might mention that the particular bank pictured is a favorite of Wally Tudor of Chicago having the Hub advertising on the front.

The Elephant (Raised Coin Slot) is shown in Figure 2. For one reason or another, it is not an easy bank to come by. The action is very simple, a coin placed in the raised slot causes the trunk to move back and forth and to the side.

It is an all-over gray with the eyes and tusks in white. A large gold blanket covers the back of the elephant, a red strap is down each side. That’s it for the coloring.

As to the manufacture of the bank, we have no positive proof as to who made it. We do have some important information, however, provided by an old catalog. The Elephant is pictured in the Montgomery Ward Company No. 70 issue of 1902 at 22c each. It pictures the bank exactly, raised coin slot and all. It describes the action exactly. However, in this case, it says the bank was painted black. This is either an error, which happens now and then, or at one time it was painted black. In either case, the writer has never seen a black one, but has seen a couple of others just as the one described.

The wording PAT APD FOR appears in raised cast letters on the inside of the left rear leg.

 

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