Cast-iron mechanical banks
Article by Gerhard Gross
cast-iron money bank
The mechanical banks of cast iron which were mainly produced in the United States are an exclusive special subject.
They were manufactured for the first time in 1869 in the USA. Four years to the end of the American civil war the iron using industry had free capacities.
Cast iron became economical and made in great amounts. So one began to produce hardware, also toy and now money banks from this material.
The first bank, the "Halls's Excelsior Bank", was announced on 21.12.1869 to the patent.
cast-iron money bank
The money banks enjoyed quickly a great demand so that they were produced in increasingly great numbers. The basic idea is in this case always identical: Through insertion of a coin or on button pressure a hidden mechanism is put in motion. The fantasy in this case were set no boundaries.
The main time lay between 1880 and 1895. Inventors and manufacturers of most mechanical banks are known: There were 34 factories in the USA which put on at least one bank. The J. & E. Stevens Co. in Connecticut made more than 80 of the about in total 210 known different models.
There were already at the beginning of the 20th century some serious collectors of this kind of banks. Until the fifties there were, however, only few collectors and traders in the USA.
cast-iron money bank
In 1959 the MBCA ("Mechanical Bank Collectors of America") was founded. In Europe there are only few collectors which specialized on this field.
Unfortunately there are copies and fakes from many mechanical banks. Often they are to be recognized, however, only from specialists. Most offers of traders and flea markets in Europe are pastiches without historical value.