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Jip the Jumper
"The Dog That Barks"

by Sy Schreckinger ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine January, 2011

     ACOURAGEOUS AND NOBLE breed of animal is the bulldog. Its huge jaw and tenacious appearance designate it a worthy subject of mechanical banks, aptly able to guard or consume large amounts of coinage.
     Several mechanicals produced during the latter portion of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries serve as well-chosen representatives of this square-jawed canine. In addition to "Jip the Jumper", seen in Figure 1 and subject of this article, several other examples include "Bulldog Coin On Nose", "Bulldog Savings Bank", "Boy and Bulldog", "Spring Jawed Bulldog", "John Bull's Money Box", "English Bulldog (Tin)", etc.
     For a period of time "Jip the Jumper" Bank had been inaccurately referred to as "Barking Dog Bank". Its correct title, manufacturer or designer were unknown. The mechanical was first discovered in 1961; only two additional examples emerged within the following twenty years. Unfortunately, accurate identification pertinent to its heritage was limited to a few remnants of a manufacturer's label affixed to the bank's underside. Recently, however, a fourth example surfaced, this in almost mint condition. Its label (Figure 2) was fairly complete, providing collectors and historians with relevant information.
     The aforementioned label revealed the following wordage: "JIP The JUMPER. The Dog That Barks. DIRECTIONS. Dog should be pushed way back as far as he will go. Then lift the little wire lever in front or push coin through the small slot in top and the dog will jump forward and bark. NATIONAL COMPANY, 167 Olive Street Boston, Mass., U.S.A. Maker of Ragtime Rastus, the Famous Darkey Doll that dances to the music of phonographs."
     Although not indicated on the label, the National Company manufactured another mechanical bank, this composed almost entirely of wood. Entitled "Watch Dog Savings Bank" (Figure 3), it employed two distinctly different wooden bulldogs. One of these was similar to our featured subject.
     It appears that the National Company was interested and involved in the utilization of sound vibration as a functioning, activating component of its creations. The following three examples serve to illustrate the firm's objective: "Jip the Jumper" emits a barking sound achieved by a series of vibrating springs and pulleys that, when activated, causes the fiberboard end panel (as seen in Figure 4) to act as a sounding board. Also, the top, bottom and sides of the base are composed of wood and serve as a sound chamber for the emitted bark. The "Watch Dog Savings Bank", seen in Figure 3, utilizes a magnet and sound activated leaf spring. When energized by a loud noise or, as indicated in the directions, the "loud clapping of one's hands" causes the coin to be deposited and the dog to spring out of its doghouse. In addition. National Company's "Ragtime Rastus Toy" (Figure 5) utilizes a battery to enable operation of a vibrating diaphragm located underneath the platform of the base. Rastus stands immobile upon the platform until an attached microphone is placed adjacent to an operating phonograph. The resulting musical sounds cause the diaphragm upon which Rastus stands to vibrate. Our entertainer then appears to hop to the beat of the melody.
     Action of "Jip the Jumper" is novel and surprising. Initially, Jip is pulled backwards. The small wire lever in the front tin panel of the bank is then lifted towards the right side (Figure 6), and then downward into a vertical position (Figure 7). Subsequently, a coin is placed into the slot in front of Jip. When the wire lever is once again lifted towards the right side, the bulldog lunges forward and the coin is deposited into the bank. These deposits are recovered by undoing the small nails which secure a flat, round tin cover underneath the base of the mechanical.
     Despite its composition and construction, "Jip the Jumper" is an extremely desirable and rare mechanical bank. Only a handful is known to exist. Its action and impressive size, i.e. Length: 9-112 inches, Width: 5 inches. Height: 5 inches, contribute greatly to its appeal as a "folk art type", albeit production, mechanical bank.
     The addition of "Jip the Jumper" to a collection could prove a challenge for even the most resourceful of collectors. However, its acquisition may be considered well worth the effort expended in the search.
     Acknowledgment: The superb, all original, and fully operational fifth example of "Jip the Jumper" Bank (seen in Figure 1) was recently acquired by Peter Wysocki. It is a "fresh find", not a previously known example.

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