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Frog on Round Base
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - March, 1982

82-03.JPG (30599 bytes)Frogs, along with a toad or two, for one reason or another, were well represented in the field of mechanical banks. That is to say, it is somewhat enlightening when one realizes that a number of the mechanicals utilize a frog as their subject matter. It is highly likely that the large size mouth would be one of the reasons that a frog was used.

In any case, there are some very interesting banks that form the frog group. They are Professor Pug Frog (an outstanding mechanical), Snake and Frog in Pond, Frog Bank (two frogs), Frog on Arched Track, Frog on Rock, Toad on Stump, Flip the Frog, Goat Frog and Old Man, Initiating Bank First Degree, and finally our choice as No. 294 in the numerical classification, the Frog on Round Base.

The bank was patented August 20, 1872 by Russel Frisbie of Cromwell, Connecticut, assignor to the J. and E. Stevens Company of the same place. The patent drawings and text covering the bank are identical to the bank as produced by Stevens. Mr. Frisbie was an official of Stevens and had a lot to do with the operation of the company. The writer was fortunate enough to have known Mr. Frisbie and to have learned a lot from him with respect to mechanical banks and the Stevens Company, their operation, and so on. He was a fine man and always most helpful to the writer on the occasions of his numerous visits to Stevens over a period of time. This included talking with some of the older plant workers who had made mechanical banks and discussions about the Girl Skipping Rope, which was a particularly difficult bank to produce.

The bank shown is in excellent original condition with colors as follows: The frog’s head and legs are gold, with his back in green. The top of the base and the base plate are dark brown. The cloverleaf perforated sides of the base are blue with the doorways highlighted in yellow, and the word "Bank" in red. It bears mention that the bank came with a variety of colors on the base — such as red, yellow and green in various combinations. Inscribed on the top of the base by the frog’s left hind leg appears "PATD AUG 20 1872."

To operate the bank, the frog’s right front foot is pressed down. This causes the mouth to open and the eyes to roll forward. A coin is then placed in the open mouth where it stays in place until the right foot is released, thereby sliding through the frog’s body and dropping into the base receptacle. There is no coin trap in this bank and it must be taken apart for removal of coins.

A closing word has to do with the fact that the feature of the coin staying in the frog’s mouth until the foot is released is carefully covered in the patent. This is so that the bank must be operated each time a coin is put into the bank.


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