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The Confectionery Bank
by Sy Schreckinger ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine November, 1983 

     The subject of this month's article is quite a unique mechanical bank Not only does it have the distinction of being American-made, and constructed from cast iron, but, upon the deposition of a coin, vends an actual object a small flat round confectionery: hence, the name "Confectionery Bank"
     On June 14, 1981, Rudolph M. Hunter of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was granted Patent number 243,048 for his design and invention of the Confectionery bank (Figure A). The bank, as it was eventually manufactured by the Kyser and Rex Company of Philadelphia, follows those drawings quite faithfully.
     The operation of this mechanical is not only interesting, but very rewarding to the depositor. A stack of small, flat round candies is inserted into a compartment at the back of the bank (see Figures 3 and 4 of the patent drawings). A coin is placed into the slot on the counter top. The plunger on the front of the bank is then pressed. Simultaneously, the girl holding the tray pivots left a small door marked "LOZENGE" opens, a bell rings, and the confectionery is deposited into her tray. The girl returns to her original position (Figure B) with her sweet reward.
     The deposited coins are removed by way of a locking coin trap underneath the base of the bank.
     The detail and coloration of the Confectionery bank are extremely attractive, as is the case with most mechanical banks manufactured by Kyser and Rex (i.e.. the Bowling Alley; Butting Buffalo; Lion and Monkeys: Mammy and Baby; Mikado; Organ Grinder and Dancing Bear; and others).
     I am not aware of any design variations in the Confectionery bank, but there are several color variations. One has the curved front panel painted in shades of dark and light green. trimmed in gold. The molding at the base and the counter top rim is red. The counter top itself is yellow with brown wood graining. The back panel is gray with gold lettering, and the top finial is red with the words, "Confectionery Bank" in gold. The little girl has a yellow dress with a red bow and red buttons. Her face is pink with blue eyes, a red mouth, brown eyebrows, and brown hair. The tray she is holding is painted gold.
     Another color variation has the curved front panel painted red and blue with gold trim. The flat back section is yellow with red lettering. The little girl has a red dress with a yellow bow and buttons. Her face also is pink with a red mouth, blue eyes, brown eyebrows and brown hair. And her tray is also painted gold.
     There have been several theories expressed as to what types of candies were originally intended for use in the Confectionery bank. One of the earliest speculations was that the goods were either gum or foil-wrapped chocolates. However, I feel certain that these would have proven too messy or sticky for usage in such an intricate mechanical bank Another suggestion was that perhaps candy wafers were utilized. Mr. Bill Norman, a most knowledgeable and advanced bank collector, did some research into this matter and uncovered some very interesting information. It is quite possible, according to Mr. Norman, that NECCO candy wafers were originally intended for use in the Confectionery bank. Not only do these small, flat, round candy wafers fit perfectly into the compartment in the back of the bank but they also fit the small round tray carried by the little girl.
     "NECCO" (New England Confectionery Company) was a candy manufacturer that operated during the same period of time that the Confectionery bank was produced. And both companies existed in the same general northeast part of the country. In addition, early (1880) literature bears out the fact that NECCO candies were referred to as "LOZENGES," the very word which appears upon the Confectionery bank's small door that dispenses the candies into the little girl's tray.
     The price of the Confectionery bank in the 1880's was a modest seventy-five cents apiece, or eight dollars fifty-five cents per dozen. Included in this article is a reprint of an advertisement that ran in the 1886 edition of the Montgomery Ward Catalog (Figure C).
     Some of the "weak spots" or fragile areas to be wary of when contemplating the purchase of the Confectionery bank are: the figure of the girl, the small door marked "LOZENGE" where the candies are ejected into the tray, and the tray are either missing or replaced. The locking coin trap in the base or the square door in the back of the bank that conceals the candies (see Figure 4 of the patent drawings) is missing. And, finally, the small flower on top of the finial might be broken off Quite possibly, these fragilities, as well as other factors, have led to the rarity of the Confectionery bank.
It is interesting to note that on the curved front section of this mechanical is a raised circle circumscribing the words "PAT JUNE 1881." This date facilitated locating the patent papers shown in this article.
     I am not aware if any reproductions of the Confectionery bank exist Nevertheless, I am including a base diagram to show an original's configuration and scale (Figure D).
     To conclude, the Confectionery is highly prized and a favorite amongst most collectors. This is easily understood especially when one has had the opportunity to view, hold, and perhaps operate this delightful mechanical. 
     Correction: (from September, 1985) In the article entitled "The Confectionary Bank," which appeared in the November 1983 issue of Antique Toy World, it was erroneously stated: "the Kyser and Rex Company of Philadelphia"; it should have read; "the Kyser and Rex Company of Frankford."

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