The Bulldog Standing Bank
by Sy Schreckinger – ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine – February,
has proven herself, time and again, to be the indisputable inspiration for
numerous subjects and ideas pertaining to the creation of toys and
mechanical banks. An example is the square-jawed bulldog, possessor of the
most sizable and seemingly voracious mouth of its species, the subject of
the "Bulldog Standing" bank.
Pictured in Figure I, this mechanical was manufactured by the Judd
Manufacturing Company, of Wallingford, Connecticut. Unfortunately, very
little information is available that relates to the patents and designs of
any Judd bank. This may be attributed to the company's practice of
abstaining from applying for and/or obtaining patents on their wares. Most
often, when information does become available, it has been acquired from
old catalogs and company correspondence. Figure II represents several
pages from a rare 1885 Judd catalog which had recently been discovered by
Mr. Mark Suozzi, an antique toy dealer from Ashfield, Massachusetts.
Depicted is the "Bulldog Standing" bank, at the cost of $2.95 per dozen.
In contrast, a single example, in superb condition, recently changed hands
at the cost of $900.00!
As evidenced by the bank portrayed in Figure I, and characteristic of
all Judd banks, is the careful attention paid to the most minute details
involved in their castings. Observe the definition of the hairs on the
bulldog's body, as well as the collar around its neck. Securitization of
other Judd banks, such as "Mosque," "Bear With Paws Around Tree Stump" and
"Boy and Bulldog," will also attest to the casting skills of this renowned
Other unique characteristics typifying Judd banks are simplicity of
operation and painted decoration. A single lever, a nodding head or a
simple crank was all that was needed to animate their creations.
Operation of the "Bulldog Standing" mechanical is initiated by
placement of a coin upon its extended tongue. The tail is raised, and the
coin is simultaneously drawn into the bulldog's mouth and is thus
deposited. Removal of the money is accomplished by undoing the large screw
from the side of the dog's body and separating both halves.
Most mechanicals produced by Judd were decorated with a single
metallic or japan color. Their palette included a glossy, ebony finish; a
dark purple varnish; a "fancy" brown japan varnish and gold and copper
metallic paint. A touch of white or black for an eye and red for a mouth
were occasionally utilized for enhancement. There are no casting
variations of "Bulldog Standing." However, there are three color variants.
The bank has been painted with ebony, brown japan or, as indicated by the
bank pictured in Figure I, a copper color. (Note also the two small black
dots for eyes.)
Occasionally, one comes across a colorful example of an otherwise
monochromatic Judd bank. Needless to say, close examination is advisable
since, although factory-painted, authentic multicolored banks do exist,
their rarity and premium price have spawned a plethora of contemporary,
polychromatic forgeries. Unfortunately, fraudulence is not limited to the
aforementioned. The simplicity of casting and operational parts of most
Judd mechanicals have also encouraged the practice of abundant
reproductions, thus giving the false impression that a greater amount of
examples exist than is actually the case. It is fortunate, however, that
these bogus recasts are easily detected. They are quite crude and pebbly
in appearance and also lack the finely cast details associated with Judd
With the exception of "Dog on Turntable," "Gem" and "Snap-It," Judd
banks can be classified as quite rare. It is not often that a collector is
able to boast of "authentic" examples of "Giant," "Circus Ticket
Collector," "Peg Leg Beggar," "Bucking Mule," "Boy and Bulldog," "Bear and
Tree Stump," "Mosque," "Butting Goat" or "Bulldog Standing."
Figure III is a base diagram of an original "Bulldog Standing" bank.
A reproduction will appear approximately one-sixteenth of an inch shorter
along the base than indicated.