Checking into the background of mechanical banks can be a very interesting, but sometimes frustrating situation. On the interesting side lets take for example a mechanical bank with absolutely nothing on it, that is to say no patent date or information of any kind is on the bank. In certain cases with considerable research through patents, old catalogs, and the like we have been able to assemble complete background information as to the designer, manufacturer, period in which the bank was made, and so on. This, of course, is great and quite rewarding. On the other hand, the ideal situation is to have a patent date to work with since some of the unmarked mechanicals remain without complete factual background. Now to the frustrating situation, this involves a mechanical bank that may have the name of a company and the city right on the bank itself and we can find absolutely nothing about it. A typical example of this is the 20th Century Savings Bank. Here is a bank with the company name and the city, Pittsburgh, Pa., cast right on the bank and the writer has been unable to date to find definitive information of any kind. A lot of time has been spent in research with respect to this bank with no results to show for it, and this Pittsburgh bank has really bugged the writer.
Well we are up against the same situation as we reach our choice as No. 236 in the numerical classification. This is the Chandlers Bank, and up to now in spite of a company name and the city, the writer has been unable to run into anything but a stone wall. And this is after a considerable amount of time and effort on the part of the writer and several other individuals.
The large impressive well made locking coin trap is, strangely enough, one of the main features of this bank. It is located in the underside of the base and utilizes a well made lock. On the coin trap itself in large raised letters appears the name of the bank, "Chandlers Bank." Underneath this appears "Pat AP" then "Natl Brass Wks Cleveland." At this point the writer would like to make mention of the fact that he has in no way given up on researching this bank and sooner or later he expects to get it nailed down.
In any case, the Chandlers Bank is circa 1900 or so. This could be somewhat into the 1910 period. It has a type of electrolytic bronze finish that was used in this period. Also, it is a combination of cast iron and heavy sheet metal stamping used in this time period. And it was made by the National Brass Works as indicated on the bank itself.
It is a very well made solid bank of the disappearing coin in the drawer type. The front and sides of the drawer, by the way, are made of brass or bronze. To operate, pull the drawer open and place a coin therein. Close drawer and re-open and the coin has disappeared. This Banks operation is the same as several of the wooden bureau type that have previously appeared in article form. As can be noted in the photo, there is a handle on top and the front is quite decorative in a highly raised casting. The name "Savings Bank" appears under the drawer. A fluted column is on each side of the front.
As mentioned, the finish of the bank gives the appearance of being brass or bronze and highlighted streaks run through this finish. Also, as mentioned, it is an exceptionally sturdy bank and could obviously stand a degree of rough treatment. On this basis one would think that it would be an easy bank to come by not so, it is a rather difficult bank to find and particularly so with the bronze finish in good or better original condition.
The Chandlers pictured is a fine all original example of this somewhat unusual bank. This includes the original coin trap, which in the case of this bank is quite important.