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Magic Bank
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - August, 1972

72-08.JPG (29617 bytes)Magicians performing their various feats of magic certainly have what we could call universal appeal. And when we consider the word itself, magic, it so well defines and conveys its own meaning. In any case, a select interesting group of mechanical banks have to do with magic and one of them, now to be discussed, is named the Magic Bank, No. 211 in the numerical classification. Some other mechanicals that make up this group are the Magician Bank, Magic Safe, Magic Bank, Mikado Bank, Columbian Magic Savings Bank, and the Presto (an illusion effect). The various trick drawer banks like the Trick Savings Bank also fit into this category since the coin seems to disappear. Included in these are the wooden chests like Serrill Patent and others in iron such as the Presto Bank and Chandlers Bank. There are several mechanicals, for example the Presto Savings Bank, that are borderline cases, but it is not necessary or particularly important at this time to list them.

The outstanding bank with the magic theme is the Mikado, a mechanical that just seems to have everything going for it. Of course, we can’t forget the Magician Bank, which in its action and appearance is so completely appropriate of its name. This bank, by the way, is one of the writer’s favorites. Now we come to the Magic Bank and a rather odd circumstance. Certainly that name itself would place this bank in the magic group. And most certainly the coin would almost seem to disappear with the fast action involved. However, the bank actually represents a building of the "bank" type and the word "Cashier" appears on the door over the figure of the man. This bank then in its action and appearance is very much the same as the National Bank, which would not under any normal circumstances be classed in the magic group. This circumstance of the Magic Bank is not earth shaking, but it most surely is a point of interest and due consideration.

The Magic Bank was patented under two different patents with different dates. The first, August 5, 1873, actually covers the National Bank, but due to similarities as mentioned here it also applies to the Magic Bank. This patent was issued to H. W. Prouty of Boston, Mass. On March 7, 1876 a patent was issued to Mr. Prouty which covers just the Magic Bank. That is to say this patent simplified certain aspects of the National Bank, such as the figure moving back and forth behind the door. This could easily get out of order and actually, therefore, the Magic Bank is a refinement of the National Bank. Naturally by placing the figure of the cashier on the back of the door considerable manufacturing time and expense were saved. The J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Conn., manufactured the Magic Bank, as well as the National Bank.

The writer has always felt that the National Bank is a somewhat under-rated mechanical. It is difficult to find one in even fairly good condition and examples of the bank just don’t turn up very often. It is highly likely this is due to the fact it may have been made just during the three year period between the patent dates of 1873 to 1876. In other words, when the Magic Bank went into production, since it more or less replaced the National Bank, manufacture of the National was discontinued at the time or not too long thereafter.

The Magic Bank pictured is an unusually fine all original example in extra nice paint condition. Colors are as follows: The roof, highlighting and outlining of the windows, and the base are a dark blue. The chimney is a very light blue topped in red and striped in blue. The front, back, and sides of the building are the same light blue as the chimney. The corners and underpart of the overhang of the roof are red. The door, when in closed position, has red outlining with a tan center section. The top part of this section has flower representation in green, white, yellow and black. Under this are decorations in white and red. With the door in position as shown in the picture the outlining is again in red with the word "Cashier" in white. The cashier has pink facial color with features in black, he wears a white shirt, yellow vest, black suit, and his hair is black. The background behind the figure is medium blue and the tray is dark blue. The section below the figure is the same as on the door front. The domed inner part of the building in which the door revolves is medium blue with red flooring. The name "Magic Bank" is in blue and this completes a quite colorful bank.

To operate, the door is turned into the position as shown in the picture exposing the cashier. It snaps into place. A coin, as shown, is then placed on the tray. A small lever on the left front side of the building is then pressed. The door whirls around with real speed and the coin is deposited inside the bank. Simple but effective action.

The patent dates previously mentioned are cast into the underside of the perforated base plate. For removal of coins a sliding coin trap is in the back part of the base plate. The trap bears the date "Pat. June 8, 1875", and this date applies to the trap only. There is a large coin slot in the peak of the roof behind the chimney for larger coins.


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