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Little Known Mechanical Banks
by Edward A. Brown III
Antiques & Collecting, May 1993


 

Little Known Mechanical Banks
by Edward A. Brown III
Antiques & Collecting, May 1993


IF YOU ENJOY collecting mechanical banks, 1 it. is especially exciting and rewarding to find a bank that does not appear in any of the mechanical bank publications. New finds occur periodically and are always very exciting not only for the finder, but for other bank collectors as well.
       A mechanical bank can hest be defined as a toy savings device which was manufactured for resale that performs a mechanical function and, in the process, receives a coin. These previously unpictured and unpublished mechanical banks fully fall into this category.
       The Light Of The World Bank is a replica of an old lighthouse and is believed to have been made in the early 1940s. This bank is 9" tall, is painted a cream color and is made of pot metal. This is a battery-operated hank which will light up when a coin is deposited. There is a key-lock tin trap on the bottom of the bank which allows the coins to be retrieved. The words, "Light of the World," appear on the base of this bank which serves as the original from which a very common reproduction or fake bank has been patterned.
       The Pig In A Low Chair Bank is 4" x 7", made of heavy pot metal and is believed to have been produced in the early 1940s. The bank is operated by placing a coin on the small tray that the pig is holding and then depressing a lever on the back of the bank. This will cause the pig's arms to move upward thus depositing the coin into his mouth. This gold painted bank has no trap and must be unscrewed to retrieve the deposited coins. This hank was made by the Logan Company.
       The Beatapool Bank is an English. tin hank that is believed to have been produced in the 1920s and depicts boys playing soccer. The bank is operated by depositing a coin which will then activate an inside wheel to spin. A "1," "2," or "X'' will then appear in the little window on the top of the bank. Directions for operation appear on the back of this bank which could have also been used for gambling. The words, "Beatapool Lucky Forecaster," appear on the front of the bank, and there is a square tin trap on the bottom for retrieving the deposited coins.
       The Roulette Bank is made of very heavy pot metal, painted black and has a roulette wheel on the top. There is also a small window for viewing the deposited coin on the back of the bank. This bank is operated by depositing nickel, then depressing and releasing the lever which will then deposit the coin into the hank and make the roulette wheel spin. This bank is believed to have been made around 1925 by the Alit Manufacturing Company, Chicago, Illinois, and could have also been used as a gambling device. The entire bottom of the bank unlocks to retrieve the deposited coins.
       Drop-Drawer Banks are banks that contain one or more drawers, one of which has a hole for depositing a coin. When the drawer with the coin is pushed in, the coin will fall from the drawer through a false bottom device into the bank. The empty drawer can then be pulled out and appears ns if no coin were ever present, thus creating a feat of magic or trickery. Many of these drop-drawer banks are made of wood by unknown manufacturers.
       The Rabbit Drop-Drawer Bank is 2" x 6" x 4-1/2", has a rabbit on the front and a small hole on the top for depositing bills. The bottom of this bank unscrews to retrieve the deposited money.
       The Five-Drawer Bureau is made of stained pine and is ex 4" x 6" x 4-3/4". Only the top drawer opens, and the back of the hank unlocks to retrieve the deposited coins. This hank is believed to be English.
       The Four-drawer Bureau is mode of walnut and is 2" x 5" x 4-3/4". Only the top drawer opens, and the bottom of the bank unscrews to retrieve the deposited coins. This bank was found in Toronto, Canada.
       The Dresdin, Maine, Drop-Drawer Bank is 4-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 7", made of pine and was produced in Dresdin, Maine, by Gilpatricks Woodcraft. The drawer will come out to allow the coins to be retrieved. This bank was found in Savannah. Georgia.
       The Bomb and Bank is 9" x 7" and is made of cast iron. This bank is operated by depositing  a coin into the hole on the top of the airplane. You then look into the hole at the rear of the plane, and by the use of a small mirror you can locate the small tin can. You then pull on the lever and the bomb (coin) will drop, hopefully into the target (can). Directions on the bank box direct the purchaser to save money for victory bonds, suggesting that this hank was produced during World War II. This bank was made by Emco Tool and Engineering Company, Woodside, New York.
       The Little Dutch Girl Bank is 4" x 8" x 7", brightly painted and is made entirely of wood. This bank is operated by placing a coin on the girl's tray which will then swing forward depositing the coin into the small house. The front door of the little house unlocks to retrieve the deposited coins. This bank is believed to have been made during the early 1940s.
       The Bird On Nest Bank is a one-of-a-kind or handmade sample. Al Davidson, a mechanical bank militarily and author of the mechanical bank book Penny Lane, defines in his book a one-of-a-kind or handmade sample as a bank that was probably never made in mass production. This bank is of that type nod is about the same size as the common mechanical bank "Frog on Lattice Base." To operate this castiron bank a coin is placed in the bird's mouth, the lever is depressed and the coin is then deposited into the bank. There is no trap, so the bottom of the bank must be unscrewed to retrieve the deposited coins. This bank is believed to have been made during the early 1900s.
       Finding a previously unpictured and unpublished mechanical bank is very exciting and great. fun and will enhance your collection a great. deal. My own personal collection contains many such examples. and I am very proud of each one. ❑

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