Crowing Rooster Bank — Tin
by Sy Schreckinger – ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine – March, 2012
REPRESENTING ONE OF nature's majestic creations is a most rambunctious
dweller — and the subject of this article. "Crowing Rooster Bank",
pictured in Figure 1, features a proud multi-colored rooster perched
atop a brightly lithographed cylinder adorned with various barnyard
In an earlier and less-complex time, children
were delighted and entertained by pictures, tales and songs pertaining
to their favorite farm creatures. The appeal and popularity of such
subjects were well recognized by manufacturers of the era. A multitude
of goods reflecting this theme were produced during the late nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries.
Several mechanical banks manufactured in
this country, as well as abroad, depicted scenarios relative to
farm-life. In addition to our aforementioned subject, such examples
included "Rooster Bank", "Mule Entering Barn Bank", "Hen and Chicks
Bank", and "Farmer Feeding Cow". Other, and more humorous mechanicals
include the chicken- thieving "Uncle Remus Bank" as well as the
frustrated lad knocked from his bench in "Milking Cow Bank".
Fortunately, the "Crowing Rooster" displays the following wordage
imprinted along the base of the bank: "D.R.G.M., K-678", enabling
identification of manufacturer and country of origin. The letters
"D.R.G.M." designate the German phrase "Deutches Reichs Geshutzes
Muster", and refer to a German Patent of an insignificant item, i.e.
toy. The letter "K" and numbers "678" aided in identifying "Crowing
Rooster" as a product of Keim and Company, Nurnberg, Germany.
During the 1930's, Keim and Company was a firm engaged in the production
of brightly lithographed tin-plate toy automobiles, airplanes and
animated mechanical figures. Their base of operation was Nurnberg,
Germany, then the world-center of tin-plate toy manufacturing. On
September 23, 1937 Keim was issued Deutches Reiches Patent Number
F-1,415,735 for its "Crowing Rooster Mechanical Bank".
Of interest is the fact that "Crowing Rooster" is but one of several
tin-plate and cast iron mechanical banks produced both here and abroad
that utilize an internal sound-generating, bellows device. In all such
examples, upon activation, a vocal sound is emitted appropriate to its
subject. Notables include the cast iron "Eagle and Eaglets Bank", "Watch
Bank", and a unique "Butting Buffalo Bank". Their tin-plate brethren are
represented by "Crowing Rooster" (Figure 1), "Monkey and Parrot" (Figure
2), and "Woman at the 'Measure Pump" (Figure 3). All the aforementioned
cast iron examples were manufactured in the United States, and all the
tin-plate examples were produced in Germany.
Activation of "Crowing Rooster" is initiated by the insertion of a coin
through the slot atop its perch. As the money is pushed into the slot, a
crowing sound is emitted. Deposits are retrieved by opening the key lock
trap door coin retainer located underneath the base of the bank.
"Crowing Rooster" is extremely rare, with less than a handful of
complete, original and working examples in collections. Its scarcity may
be attributed to flimsy tin-plate construction and consequent
vulnerability when mishandled by former youthful owners.
I am not aware of the existence of any reproductions of "Crowing Rooster
Bank". However, due to its aforementioned frailties, there is the
possibility of repaired and/or replaced components. In such an instance,
limited professional conservation may be considered acceptable without
significantly devaluating the bank's monetary worth.
Although diminutive in size, i.e. Height: 6-3/8 inches. Diameter: 3-3/16
inches, "Crowing Rooster" is an attractive and highly desirable addition
to a mechanical bank collection.
Acknowledgment: The superb example "Crowing Rooster Bank", seen in
Figure 1, struts proudly in the mechanical bank collection of Bob Weiss.