Among the mechanical banks there is a select group that have as their subject matter an actual savings institution. Naturally this couldnt be a more appropriate subject matter for a mechanical toy savings device. Most are in the form of a bank building, while some others use the same theme but in a different fashion. An example is the Bank Teller Bank where the teller or cashier stands within his cage ready to receive the deposit. No building is involved in this fine rare bank, but rather a part of the inside of a real bank of the period is represented. Some of the other mechanicals in the group are the Liliput, National Bank, Home Bank, The Home Bank (tin) which gives a receipt for your money, Magic Bank, Wireless Bank, and the Novelty Bank, our present choice as No. 295 in the numerical classification.
The Novelty Bank was patented October 28, 1873 by Charles C. Johnson of Somerville, Massachusetts. It was made by the J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut. The actual bank as produced by Stevens closely follows the patent drawings both as to configuration and mechanism. It is a well made sturdy mechanical and a good example of Stevens expertise in making mechanical banks. It is interesting to note that Mr. Johnson in his patent text refers to the figure as an image representing a money receiver, rather than cashier or bank teller.
The bank pictured is in excellent all original condition with colors as follows: The basic building, including the two chimneys, are a very light blue-white. The chimneys have dark blue highlights. The roof is a dark blue and the dormer windows are outlined and criss-crossed in red. The front door panels are done in red with the name Novelty Bank in white on a blue background. The four corners of the bank building are in red and the windows on the sides and back are outlined in blue. The base of the building is dark blue. The inside grillwork is yellow with a red counter and a red floor. The bank teller wears a tan suit, the cuffs and lapels of his jacket are brown and he has black shoes. He has a white shirt with yellow edging around the collar and black tie and buttons. His hat matches his suit. The tray he is holding is red. As one can judge from the described colors, this is a bright cheerful bank and a particularly nice building.
On the bottom section of the rear of the building the following is inscribed:
PATD JUNE 23 1872
The writer has never been able to locate the 1872 patent.
The bank as shown has the door open ready for operation. A coin is placed on the tray and the door is nudged or slightly pushed to the right. The spring mechanism snaps the door closed as the teller retreats inside throwing the coin into the building. The door is again manually opened for further operation as the teller comes forward.
In closing it bears mention that Charles C. Johnson had the October 28, 1873 patent re-issued November 9, 1875, and under this date it was assigned to Horace Partridge.