A New Find and Three Rare Banks Conclusion
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1978

78-04.JPG (32943 bytes)Once again it affords considerable pleasure to pass the word along about a new find in an old mechanical bank, and this time it is an American made item — most recent new finds have been of foreign manufacture, mainly German. It is nice to have an American made mechanical put in an appearance as a new find. This bank, like most of the recent finds, is made of tin, and the name ‘Savings Bank’ appears on the front as per photo. For more definitive reasons, we are naming the bank ‘Fortune-Horse Race Savings Bank’. The dual name covers the dual purpose of the spinning dial. It is a rather small bank, 3-1/4 inches long, 2-1/8 inches wide, and 5/8 inches deep. It is No. 273 in the numerical classification.

The bank was patented October 5, 1897, by Arthur R. Clarke, Chicago, Ill., assignor of three-fourths to Emma Allardyce and Victor Dumont, both Chicago, Ill. The patent in one part reads as follows:

"The combination with a casing, of a wheel or disk pivotally secured therein and exposed to view, a spring-actuated lever pivotally secured in said casting and having an arm or extension, the free end of which is adapted to contact with the wheel, a sliding bar extending through the casing near said lever and having means to secure a coin thereon to engage the lever as the bar is pushed inwardly, substantially as described."

This covers the important phase of the mechanism of the bank and its operation of the dial on insertion of a coin. It was manufactured by Norton Bros., Chicago. This appears on the front bottom edge in small black letters.

The bank is an all over yellow with the name, patent date, and decorations in black. The spinning white dial has six numbered black horses thereon in two red, two white, and two blue sections. The alphabet is in black letters counter-clockwise on the dial. The back of the bank, yellow with all black lettering, has the alphabet with a different fortune after each letter. For example, ‘A. I see a gleaming fortune shine. B. You are going on a long journey. C. A strange experience awaits you. D. Your letter shows a lucky shine.’ The alphabet with its fortunes takes up the entire back of the bank.

To operate the bank, a coin is inserted in the slot in the bottom end. The coin causes the levers and the spring mechanism to spin the wheel rapidly counter-clockwise. Whatever letter and numbered section stops at the pointer wins the race and gets the fortune.

Why hasn’t one of these banks turned up before now would be a natural question. Well, it’s anybody’s guess, but with all the active collecting of mechanicals that has been going on for many years now, it is surprising that an example of this bank did not turn up sooner. But that’s the way it goes and that’s where part of the interest lies.

The bank is the most recent addition to Ed Mosler’s fine collection, and he is certainly to be congratulated on the acquisition of this interesting small mechanical. By the way, the bank pulls apart for removal of coins. It is all original and in nice shape.

Well, the three rare tin banks from Second Childhood each found a separate home. The Automatic Savings Bank is in Steve Steckbeck’s collection in Fort Wayne, Ind. — Flip The Frog in Ed Mosler’s collection in New York City — and the African Native is now in the writer’s collection. Congratulations to Steve and Ed, and the writer is very pleased with his African Native. By the way, it bears mention that the February 1978 article on these banks pictures the Automatic Savings Bank before the action, and not after as stated in the last sentence of the text. A minor error we would like to correct so there will be no confusion.