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Girl Feeding Geese Bank
by Sy Schreckinger ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine February, 2010

     DEPICTION OF LIFE ON the farm may bring to mind tranquil and idyllic scenes. Adults and
children alike have, perhaps at one time or another, conjured up pleasant images of such a setting.
     Recognition of the popularity and marketability of farm-life did not escape the attention of astute entrepreneurs of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Innumerable objects utilizing this subject had been created and sold to the public. Children's merchandise was no exception. Several toy manufacturers of the era produced toys and mechanical banks reflecting various aspects of country life. Examples include: J. and E. Stevens' "Mule Entering Barn Bank", "Hen and Chick Bank" and "Kicking Cow Bank". Kyser and Rex Co. provided "Rooster Bank" and "Boys Stealing Watermelons Bank". The renowned European toy producer, Gebruder Bing, was presumably the manufacturer of "Farmer Feeding Cow Bank" and "Girl Feeding Geese Bank", subject of this article (Figure 1).
     "Girl Feeding Geese" portrays a peasant farm girl, seed basket under arm, broadcasting a handful of grain to her flock of geese. This charming mechanical bank is but one of a series of extremely rare and desirable mechanicals believed to have been created sometime during the years 1890 through 1910. Its manufacturer is assumed to be the aforementioned Gebruder Bing Tin Works of Nurnbeg, Germany. Bing was acclaimed for its line of tinplate kitchen utensils, toys and model steam engines.
     Although "Girl Feeding Geese" bears no wordage that would identify its manufacturer or country of origin, discovery of the Bing catalog (Figure 2) may possibly have revealed significant information. Despite the fact that "Girl Feeding Geese" was not pictured, it is believed to have been one of the company's series of mechanicals due to its visual, structural, and mechanical similarities to other banks represented in the aforementioned catalog.
     The description and pricing of the Bing Series of banks, as indicated in Figure 2, are as follows: "Banks - Made of tin, nicely decorated. With lock and moving figures. Supplied in 24 assorted subjects, price per piece: Mark - .57."
     "Girl Feeding Geese" was constructed almost entirely of applied lithographed paper-clad tinplate. The exceptions are the geese and the articulated figure of the girl. These are composed of cast, hand painted, zinc-lead alloy.
     "Girl Feeding Geese" operates by first inserting a coin through a slot in the roof of the cottage. Simultaneously, the girl's left arm (Figure 3) raises and lowers as if dispersing feed to her flock. Deposits are recovered by opening the key lock, trap door type coin retainer located underneath the base of the bank.
     The entire group of Bing-articulated mechanicals is extremely rare. Its scarcity may be attributed to flimsy tinplate construction, delicately painted and/or lithographed paper-clad surfaces, as well as possible mishandling by previous youthful owners. I am not aware of the existence of any reproduced mechanicals in the Bing series. However, due to its inherent frailties and other causes, as previously mentioned, there is the possibility of repaired and/or replaced parts. In such instances, limited professional conservation may be acceptable without significantly devaluating the bank's monetary worth.
     Although diminutive in size, i.e. Height: 3-11/16 inches, Width: 4-1/8 inches, "Girl Feeding Geese" is an attractive and highly desirable addition to a mechanical bank collection.
 
Acknowledgment: The fine example "Girl Feeding Geese Bank" seen in Figure 1, was photographed when in the collection of Steve and Marilyn Steckbeck.

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