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Tank and Cannon
Part II An Attractive Color Variation
by Sy Schreckinger ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine September, 2011
Cupola Bank
Part II An Attractive Color Variation

     THE WORLD OF MECHANICAL banks encompasses a multitude of subjects and a variety of themes. Over the years avid collectors have been known to discuss and, occasionally, ponder over the intricacies of individual examples.
     In many instances, color variations of particular banks have provoked interesting theories and speculation. Those variations exhibiting highly chromatic differences are often favored due to their assumedly "more attractive" appearance. Sadly, other less colorful examples are often overlooked. Our subjects, this article, are two such mechanical banks that exemplify being "overshadowed" by their more "flamboyant" brethren.
     "Tank and Cannon" (Figure 1) and "Cupola Bank" (Figure 2) had been featured previously in Antique Toy World, i.e. June 1997 and August 1996, respectively. "Tank and Cannon", as portrayed in the aforementioned 1997 article, exhibited a dark brown japan finish, accented with gold highlights. In contrast, the example seen in Figure 1 had been painted a vivid camouflage-applied color scheme.
     "Tank and Cannon" was created by Robert Eastwood Starkie and his wife, Nellie, of Burnley, England. They were assigned British Patent Number 122,123 on January 16, 1919. Subsequently, on May 4, 1920 the Starkies were also issued United States Patent Number 1,338,879 for that same creation (Figure 3).
     Worthy of mention is the fact that there is much to be said in regard to the more accurately decorated, ominous representation of the darkly painted "Tank and Cannon" mechanical featured in my previous article. The tank was purposefully designed and gloomily painted by the British military to evoke fear and panic within the ranks of the German infantry during World War I.
     "Cupola Bank" (Figure 2) is another example of an extremely desirable mechanical that was typically painted at the factory, utilizing a monochromatic coloration. A plethora of examples exhibit either an overall pink, beige, light blue or dark brown pigmentation. The bright multicolored examples, as pictured in Figure 2, are rarely seen. However, because of their highly attractive appearance, when offered for sale, generally command a premium price. Nonetheless, those austerely painted examples, when located in superb, near mint condition, maintain a simplistic, albeit elegant demeanor, and certainly worthy of possessing.
     "Cupola Bank" was designed by Mr. Deidrich Dieckmann of New York City. He was granted Patent Number 146,755 on January 27, 1874 for his invention (Figure 4). Dieckmann's uniquely styled architectural bank was subsequently manufactured by the J. and E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut.
     To conclude, both subjects featured in this current article are highly desirable and extremely scarce. Hopefully, collectors in earnest pursuit of the more "colorful" variations do not overlook the design, brilliance and concept of the mechanical bank itself.
     Acknowledgment: The superb, camouflage example "Tank and Cannon" Bank (Figure 1) is in the collection of Bob Weiss.

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