Hubley Trick Dog Bank
Six-Part Base Variation
by Sy Schreckinger – ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine – September, 2006
The "Trick Dog Bank" is regarded by many
collectors as a truly unique mechanical. It differs from all others in the
respect that it was the only mechanical bank to have undergone multiple,
significant visual and structural production alterations.
"Trick Dog" was invented and patented by Mr. Daniel Cooke of Camden,
New Jersey. On July 31, 1888 he was assigned U.S. "Design Patent" number
18,489. The words 'PAT. JULY 31, 1888" which are cast into the underside
of the base facilitated location of the patent drawings (Figure 1).
The "Trick Dog Bank" seen in Figure 2 was initially manufactured by
the Shepard Hardware Company of Buffalo, New York. It, as well as various
other mechanicals in the Shepard line, were extremely popular and, for
several years following their production, enjoyed great success. However,
sometime during the latter portion of the nineteenth century, Shepard
Hardware faced devastating corporate and financial problems. Production of
its mechanical banks and hardware items ceased, and the company closed its
Shepard's patent rights and foundry molds for several of its
mechanical banks were acquired by the J. and E. Stevens Company of
Cromwell, Connecticut. These included "Artillery Bank", "Jolly Nigger
Bank", and "Speaking Dog Bank".
The patent rights and master patterns for Shepard's "Trick Dog Bank"
were obtained by the Hubley Manufacturing Company of Lancaster,
The initial Hubley offering, as seen in Figure 3, utilized the original
casting patterns supplied by Shepard. However, Hubley's bank differed from
the Shepard mechanical in its color scheme and the manner in which the
figure of the clown, the barrel, and the multi-sectional, together.
Shepard secured the base with two screws while Hubley employed two brass
twist pins. Hubley also replaced Shepard's screws with rivets in order to
fasten together both halves of its clown and barrel. These procedures
were, most likely, implemented by Hubley in order to simplify its
manufacture and reduce production costs.
Several years later, circa 1920-1930, Hubley discontinued production
of the multi-sectional base "Trick Dog Bank" (Figure 3) and introduced a
redesigned version. Although the same clown, dog, and barrel were
utilized, this new model "Trick Dog" employed a one-piece, uni-sectional
base casting (Figure 4). This additional casting simplification was
possibly implemented to further reduce manufacturing and assembly costs of
the former more complicated base.
All three versions of "Trick Dog Bank" operate similarly. Figure 5
represents an advertisement by Shepard Hardware for its "Trick Dog Bank"
in an 1889 Montgomery Ward and Co. catalog, wherein is stated: "The bank
represents a clown dressed in full circus colors, holding a hoop; the coin
is placed in the dog's mouth, and by touching the lever, the dog jumps
through the hoop and deposits the coin in the barrel. Price each ...
$0.85." Money is removed by unlocking a rectangular, key lock, coin
retainer located underneath the base of the bank.
A Montgomery Ward and Co. catalog advertisement, circa 1906, is seen
in Figure 6. In it is offered the Hubley six-part base version of the
"Trick Dog Bank". The price indicated ... 84 cents each.
A page from a 1937 Hubley wholesale cast iron toy catalog
illustrating the solid one-piece base "Trick Dog Bank" is seen in Figure
7. A price list included with this catalog offered the bank at $7.50 per
All versions of the "Trick Dog Bank" have been reproduced. The base
diagram size indicated in Figure 8 is applicable to original examples of
each of the three aforementioned mechanicals. Reproductions will appear
approximately one-eighth inch shorter O.D. along the base than indicated.
In conclusion, all three versions of "Trick Dog Bank", when displayed
side by side, would create an interesting and colorful display. The
collector seeking to acquire each, and in original, pristine condition
will face an extremely challenging albeit rewarding task.