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The Boy and Bulldog Bank
by Sy Schreckinger – ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine – July, 1989

      Threatening and menacing would, perhaps, be apt descriptions of the subject of this month's article, "Boy and Bulldog" mechanical bank (Figure I). Only one other mechanical comes to mind which portrays "man's best friend" in a similarly adversarial position: the "Bulldog Savings Bank," Figure II, a product of the Ives, Blakeslee and Williams Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. (Refer to the November 1984 issue of Antique Toy World for further discussion of this bank.)
     Information relating to the design and patent date of "Boy and Bulldog" is sparse. This may be attributed to the fact that its producer, the Judd Manufacturing Company, of Wal­lingford, Connecticut, never applied for patents for any of its bank designs. However, an approximation of the time period in which it was marketed may be deduced from an advertisement for the sale of "Boy and Bulldog" which appeared in a 1887 issue of the C.F. Rice Company Toy Jobber's Catalog (Figure III). The ad reads as follows: "No. 3182 Length 4-1/2 in., maroon finish, per doz., $4.25. No. 3187 Length 4-1/2 in., ebony and gold, per doz., $4.50."
     Figure I pictures a bank decorated in the above-mentioned maroon finish. Close examination of this bank reveals attributes which are shared by the entire line of Judd mechanicals: namely, meticulously fine casting details in addition to simplicity of action and coloration. Observe the carefully delineated hair and ribs of the bulldog, the sharply defined collar, lapels and tiny buttons of the boy's rumpled jacket.
     The "Boy and Bulldog" was painted primarily with simple japan varnishes or metallic colors, as were most all mechanicals produced by Judd. Their palette included a shiny ebony finish, maroon lacquer, "fancy" gold-flecked brown japan varnish, gold and copper metallic and an occasional touch of white for an eye or red for a mouth. Examples of Judd banks do exist which differ from the aforementioned by use of multicolors. Some examples might have been factory-painted, but most were the whims of an early owner or bank collector. A word of caution: multicolored Judd banks should be closely scrutinized for paint and/or casting authenticity before contemplating purchase.
     Operation of "Boy and Bulldog" is non-complex. A coin is placed upon the slot between the boy and dog. A slight pull on the lever behind the boy causes him to tilt forward as if reaching for the coin; the bulldog rears backward, as if reacting to the lad's advance. Simultaneously, the coin drops into the base of the bank. These deposits are removed by unscrewing the entire base from its sides.
     Unfortunately, and understandably, the simplicity of the operating mechanism and castings encouraged the practice of abundant reproduction of many of the Judd banks. Thus, exceedingly scarce examples, such as "Bucking Mule," "Boy and Bulldog," "Circus Ticket Collector," "Peg Leg Beggar" and "Bear with Paws Around Tree Stump," are often inaccurately categorized as common. In truth, few collectors can boast of all-original, complete examples of these banks. Reproductions are easily detected since, unlike the original Judd banks, they are crude and pebbly in appearance and lack the fine, sharp details of an original.
     Several bronze examples of "Boy and Bulldog" and "Bucking Mule" do exist. It is my contention that, because of their extremely fine, detailed appearance, they most likely were original Judd foundry patterns which had been assembled by collectors into working banks. There is no known logical explanation as to why a company engaged in manufacturing a line of cast-iron mechanical banks would simultaneously produce the identical banks in bronze.
     Since it may be of interest to readers of this article, the following serves to enumerate and grade the entire repertoire of Judd mechanical banks according to their rarity. In descending order: "Giant," "Circus Ticket Collector," "Peg Leg Beggar," "Bucking Mule," "Boy and Bulldog," "Mosque," "Bear and Tree Stump," "Bulldog Standing," "Butting Goat," "Gem," "Snap-it" and "Dog on Turntable."
     Figure III is a base diagram of an original "Boy and Bulldog." A reproduced version would not necessarily appear smaller than the base diagram, since the original aforementioned patterns were often used to cast the "fakes." The most accurate method of determining a reproduction is the crude texture of the bank's surface and its lack of detail definition. Needless to say, the scarcity of original examples of "Boy and Bulldog" reflects accordingly on its price.

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