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by Sy Schreckinger – ANTIQUE TOY WORLD Magazine – January, 2013

“TIME IS MONEY" and "a penny saved is a penny earned" are but two of many familiar expressions coined in an earlier age. These proverbs and maxims were said to be the inspiration for entrepreneurs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Toys and various other merchandise were created to teach young children the virtues of saving and thrift.
     It was during this era that the first patented mechanical penny bank, i.e. "Bureau Bank, Serrill patent", was introduced to the marketplace. Encouraging sales resulted in a new and profitable business venture. The period spanning 1869 through 1935 saw the birth of more than five hundred different banks portraying various subjects. One category encompassed mechanicals reflecting the aforementioned adages. Such notables included "Time is Money Bank", "Time Lock Savings Bank", "Time Registering Bank", "Registering Dime Savings" (subject of this article, and seen in Figure 1), etc.
     Of interest is the fact that, of all the clock-type or timepiece designated mechanical banks, only two actually reflect the design of a manufactured and marketed American-style shelf clock. One is our subject "Registering Dime Savings Bank" (Figure 1) and the other is "Time Registering Bank" (refer to Figure 2).
     "Registering Dime Savings Bank" is designed in the style of a period kitchen "Gingerbread" shelf clock, as pictured in Figure 3. Its invention is attributed to Alfred and Louis Munger of Woodhaven, Queens, New York. They were assigned Patent Number 423,528 on March 18, 1890 (Figure 4).
     Although our subject may be designated a "registering bank" simply by its name alone, it also falls into the "mechanical bank" classification. This is due to the fact that coin deposit and retrieval are accomplished automatically by an internal, mechanically-activated coin retrieval door located in the facade of the bank.
     To date, there is no documented information pertaining to the manufacturer of "Registering Dime Savings Bank". However, a mechanical registering bank similar in design, material and action is "Time Registering Bank" (Figure 2). It was invented and manufactured by Edward Ives, a principal of the Ives, Blakeslee and Williams Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Collectors and historians alike have speculated that our subject (Figure 1) may, perhaps, have also Figure 3 been produced by Ives, Blakeslee and Williams.
     "Registering Dime Savings Bank" was offered as a subscription sales incentive in an advertisement of the 1891 edition of Ladies Home Journal Premium Supplement (Figure 5). The ad portrayed an accurate image of the mechanical as well as concise operating instructions. These instructions stated "A coin cannot be deposited without being accurately registered. The first coin locks the door, which cannot be locked in any other manner, nor can it be again opened until full amount for which the bank is set has been deposited — then — it opens automatically. These banks are sold by the Fire-Proof Safe Companies. Strongly made of cast iron. Handsomely nickel plated. Packed in a strong wooden box. Price, $1.50."
     "Registering Dime Savings Bank" is extremely rare, with little more than a handful of complete, operable examples in the possession of a few fortunate collectors.
     I am not presently aware of the existence of reproductions of "Registering Dime Savings Bank". The following dimensions are provided solely to inform the collector of size and scale: Height: 6-9/16 inches, Width: 4-1/8 inches, Depth: 1-1/2 inches.
     There is one variation of "Registering Dime Savings Bank" that pertains to its base. This version adds approximately one- half inch to the height of the bank.
     Acknowledgement: The fine example "Registering Dime Savings Bank" (Figure 1) is from the collection of Bob Weiss.
     Addendum: The face of the clock (Figure 1) may possibly be a replacement. This assumption is based upon comparison of the face of the clock seen in the photo (Figure 1) and the illustration of the face of the clock seen in the catalog advertisement (Figure 5).

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