Butting Buffalo Bank
An animal that played a very important part in the founding of the Western part of our country is the subject of our choice as the 75th mechanical bank in the numerical classification. The animal is the buffalo and as a provider of meat for the Pioneer, as well as the Indian, he was unsurpassed. As a matter of fact the buffalo was the main source of meat for the Indians and then at a later date the buffalo hunters came along and over a period of time they slaughtered so many that the buffalo almost became extinct. The bank chosen as No. 75 is the Butting Buffalo Bank and the figure of the buffalo thereon well represents this former roamer of the western plains.
The bank pictured was obtained by the writer a number of years ago from a New England antique dealer. It is in excellent condition and completely original. The bank was patented March 20, 1888 by Alfred C. Rex of Philadelphia, Pa., and manufactured by Kyser & Rex of the same city. It represents the figure of a buffalo in the act of butting a boy who is climbing a tree in order to reach an animal in the top of the stump. For some years the animal in the top of the stump was thought to be a small bear, however, the patent papers clarify this as follows: "In the bank illustrated in the drawing I (Rex) have shown the casing in the form of a piece of ground and the stump of a tree, from the top of which is pivoted the representation of a raccoon, and to the side of the tree is pivoted the representation of a boy in the act of climbing up the tree after the raccoon. In the rear of the boy is a horned animal (buffalo) in the act of butting the boy and assisting him up the tree as shown." This quote from the original patent papers leaves no doubt but that the figure of the animal in the stump definitely represents a raccoon.
The paint on the bank shown is in fine condition and the colors are as follows: The base or ground-like section is an overall green with highlightings of red and yellow. The tree stump is brown and green with bronze color vine-like leaves going up the sides. The buffalo is an overall brown with highlights done in silver, and his horns are also silver. The boy has yellow trousers, a red shirt, and a blue hat. The raccoon is black with silver highlights.
To operate the bank a coin is first placed in the provided slot in the top of the tree trunk to the rear of the raccoon. The coin stays in position until the bank is operated. The lever shown is then depressed and in so doing the buffalo raises his head butting the boy. The boy moves up the trunk and as he does so the raccoon withdraws back into the stump and the coin drops inside the stump and on into the base. Upon releasing the lever the figures automatically return to the positions shown in the picture. It might be well to point out that the coin rests on a small lug which blocks the coin slot inside the stump. This lug is part of and fastened to the raccoon. As the raccoon withdraws the lug moves down and forward allowing the coin to fall into the bank. As has been mentioned in past articles, this type of action where the coin is automatically deposited by the operation of the mechanism is a desirable feature.
The Butting Buffalo Bank is a very attractive mechanical bank with interesting action. It makes a nice addition to a collection and is somewhat difficult to find in completely original state.