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The Butting Buffalo Bank, Part II
A Unique Squeaker Variation

by Sy Schreckinger ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine January, 1998

     Discovery of a new variation of a mechanical bank, especially one that is desirable and popular, generally creates excitement and interest among collectors. Such was the result recently, when I was sent a Butting Buffalo Bank that was sadly in need of repair of its mechanism.
     Disassembly of the bank revealed both its hidden defect and, surprisingly, an internal variation heretofore unknown. Instead of activation via the usual method, i.e., a series of weighted internal parts (refer to patent papers in Figure 1), this mechanical was driven by a spring-tension, air-bellows squeaker (Figures 2 and 3). Lacking this squeaker, the bank remained inanimate and mute. Action of this newly discovered variant is similar to the more familiar bank (Figure 4), except for the unexpected "yelp!" which is heard at precisely the time of the black man's nose-to-nose encounter with the frightened raccoon.
     The question of why Louis Kyser and Alfred C. Rex, manufacturers of the Butting Buffalo Bank, chose to omit the squeaker, thus eliminating the addition of a humorous sound, may be answered by a paragraph within the patent's description (Figure 1). In it, Mr. Rex states, "In constructing toy banks for children, one of the main objects is to make the device as attractive as possible, and at the same time so form the parts that they can be put together very cheaply, in order to reduce the actual cost of the bank to a minimum." Therefore, it may be concluded that the prohibitive cost involved in construction and installation of the squeaker was the persuasive factor for the elimination of the bellows from subsequent production.
     Historically, to my knowledge, internal variations have not affected the ultimate value of a mechanical bank. In this particular instance, however, in view of the fact that a sound is created which enhances its action, a premium is likely to be exacted.
     Acknowledgment: The superb example of Butting Buffalo Bank (Figure 4) is from the collection of Steve and Marilyn Steckbeck.
     ADDENDUM: (from February, 1998) Please refer to my article "Butting Buffalo Bank," Part 2 in the January 1998 issue of Antique Toy World. I erroneously omitted mention that this was an adjunct to my "Butting Buffalo Bank" article in the September 1988 issue of Antique Toy World.

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