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«Proposal for Identifying Variations of Cast Iron Still Banks Supplement No. 2, Modified Working Patterns: Give Me a Penny (screw) Bank∗ Fritz ...»

Proposal for Identifying Variations of Cast Iron Still Banks

Supplement No. 2, Modified Working Patterns:

"Give Me a Penny (screw)" Bank∗

Fritz Kokesh


This is a supplement to the paper "Proposal for Identifying Variations of Cast Iron Still Banks"

in which it was proposed that two banks that are similar but not identical are Variations if they

were made using the same master pattern, or are distinct Types if different master patterns were

used. The purpose of this and future Supplements is to expand on the proposal, present new examples, and also to correct errors.

In this Supplement three brass working patterns for a "Give Me a Penny" bank are described.1 Like the pattern described in Supplement No. 1, these patterns were significantly modified; the type of fastener was changed and lettering was applied. As will be explained, it is believed that they were working patterns for M–166, "Give Me a Penny (screw)," and that the patterns were cast from a working pattern for M–167, "Give Me a Penny (turn pin)." Therefore, the bank with screw (M–166) is a Tooling Variation of (M–167). There are visible differences in the lettering on the three patterns. Whether these differences are seen in iron banks is a question that requires reader input. One of the patterns was photographed during a visit with Frank Kidd at Kidd's Toy Museum in Portland, Oregon, and two others are in the collection of Bill Robison. Information about the corresponding cast iron banks was contributed by Kidd, Robison, and Mike Henry.

Patterns for "Give Me A Penny Bank (screw)" Photos 1 through 4 show a two-piece brass pattern for a "Give Me a Penny" bank with screw.

The pattern, which is in the Kidd Museum, is 5 11/16" tall. The pattern was not disassembled; I do not know if the parts are stamped with a pattern number.

The pattern was created by modifying one for a bank with a turn pin fastener. As in the case of the working pattern for "Prancing Horse on Oval Base (Beauty),"2 the modifications to the pattern for "Give Me a Penny" are extensive. The opening on the front of the pattern for the head of the turn pin has been filled, and the opening in the back of the pattern with the slot for the "T" end of the turn pin has been converted for a screw head. Solder is seen at both locations.

Solder also is seen around the base of each letter of "Give Me a Penny," meaning that the message was applied to the pattern one letter at a time. As will be explained, it is believed that the change of the fastener and application of the lettering were contemporaneous.

Bill Robison has two similar patterns, which he measures as 5 5/8" tall. He reports that the large hemispheres of metal inside the back halves of the patterns where the "T" ends of the turn pins would lock have been completely removed. He did not find numbers stamped inside. As can be ∗ Copyright © 2003 Fritz Kokesh Cambridge, Massachusetts; all rights reserved.

–  –  –

As noted above, the message "Give Me a Penny" was applied one letter at a time. This is not particularly unusual. The same thing was seen with the pattern for "Prancing Horse on Oval Base (Beauty)," and Robison previously reported3 and showed examples of lettering being applied to master patterns. However, it is surprising that the lettering was laid out in what appears to be a rather careless manner. ("Careless" is not too strong a word if the layout is

–  –  –

Lettering also was added on the back of the bank. Robison reports that the spacing of the letters in the phrase "Pat Pend" is distinctly different on the backs of his two patterns and interprets this to mean that the patent notice was stamped onto each pattern. (The spacing would be identical if the lettering was on one or both master patterns.)

Known Give Me a Penny Banks

Moore lists two "Give Me a Penny" banks, M–166 and M–167. In their collections, Kidd and Mike Henry have a third version that has a screw that is located higher up the back, in the area of the shoulder blades. Henry reports that it is much scarcer than the other two. Detailed descriptions are given in Table 1, including measurements made by Kidd and Robison.

Table 1: Descriptions of "Give Me a Penny" Banks

–  –  –

Descriptions and measurements for M–166 and M–167 are from Moore.4 Other information provided by Frank Kidd, Bill Robison, and Mike Henry.

Although there are differences in the heights measured by different people for a given version of bank, according to two of three sets of measurements the bank with screw (M–166) is 1/16" to 1/8" shorter than the bank with turn pin (M–167). It also is notable that the lettering is different on the bank with screw and the bank with turn pin. The difference is most easily seen in the style of the "A", but also is evidenced by the layout and relief (depth) of the letters.

Comparisons of Patterns and Banks

Not for lack of trying to find a simpler explanation, the story that follows is complicated and every piece of data is not a perfect fit. But overall I find the story convincing, and in any case it is worth slogging through for insight into what happened during manufacture of even a relatively simple iron still bank.

Proposal for Identifying Variations of Cast Iron Still Banks p. 3 Supplement No. 2, Modified Working Patterns: "Give Me a Penny" Bank The explanation is based on a hypothesis suggested by Bill Robison: the three working patterns described here (and perhaps others like them) were used to produce the bank with screw (M–166). The working patterns themselves were cast from a working pattern for the bank with turn pin (M–167). Essentially, a modified working pattern for M–167 served as a master pattern to mold working patterns for M–166.

If the hypothesis is correct, then the bank with screw (M–166) is a Tooling Variation of (M–167). Obviously, given its greater height, the "Give Me a Penny (tall)" bank was not made using a pattern for either M–166 or M–167, and is a separate Type.

The features of the working pattern in Photos 1 to 4 match those of the bank with screw (M–166). The screw is in the correct position and the "A" has the proper shape. The patterns also are about the right size to have been used to mold the bank with screw. The patterns are between 5 5/8 and 5 11/16" tall, and given a shrink of 1.5% for casting iron, would be expected to yield banks between 5 9/16 and 5 5/8" tall.

The working patterns that were modified as shown in Photos 1 to 4 were cast from a working pattern for the bank with turn pin (M–167). Clearly, aside from the fastener and lettering, M–166 and M–167 strongly resemble one another. And, Bill Robison made the key finding that the halves of his patterns for the bank with screw are nearly perfect fits5 to the complementary halves of his iron banks with turn pin. Of course, this would be expected if both the patterns and the iron banks were molded from a working pattern for M–167.

But, Why? and Exactly How…?

So far so good. But important questions remain such as: why is the style and layout of lettering different on M–166 than on M–167? And, why were the modifications made to the individual patterns for M–166 instead of being made to the "master" pattern used to cast the working patterns for M–166?

First some important background: Moore attributes "Give Me a Penny (turn pin)," M–167, to the Wing Manufacturing Company of Chicago. In 1904 Wing was acquired by National Novelty Co., a.k.a. "The Toy Trust." Subsequently, according to research by Bob Saylor, Wing's master patterns and manufacture of most Wing banks were moved to the Kenton foundry. The "Give Me a Penny" bank was an exception. Its production (and working patterns) went to Hubley. 6 It seems reasonable to expect that production at Hubley would have been done with the patterns from Wing. But, Bill Robison sees at least two reasons why the pattern maker at Hubley sooner or later would have made changes: 1) Hubley used screws rather than turn pins to fasten banks, and 2) the lettering on the turn pin banks did not stand out well. Changes for either or both of these reasons could have been made to individual working patterns from Wing. But they weren't; instead, the Hubley pattern maker chose to cast copies of one working pattern and then modify the copies. Why? Perhaps the number of patterns available from Wing was not sufficient for Hubley's production needs. Or, maybe the process of replacing the lettering was simplified by casting copies. That is, if lettering was removed from one of the Wing working patterns and then that pattern was copied, the pattern maker would have a set of "clean slates," so to speak, on which to apply higher-relief letters. It would seem that the Hubley pattern maker could have

–  –  –

An Aside… Did the message "Give Me a Penny" appear on the Wing master pattern? Probably it will never be known for sure unless that pattern is found. Until then, the answer is "maybe."

As Bill Robison explained in his seminar, lettering and other details often were applied to master patterns and hence cast into the working patterns. On the other hand, the "Give Me a Penny" message may have been added to the bank's design after Wing had made working patterns, in which case it would have been applied to each working pattern, or more precisely, to each working pattern that was immediately needed for bank production.

To further complicate the story, Frank Kidd has what he believes is the front half of a working pattern for the bank with turn pin, M–167. It is weathered, but the lettering, which is in the style (e.g. broad "A") of M–167, appears to be molded into the pattern.

However, there is a problem:

it is shorter than the working pattern in Photo 1. (Of course, a working pattern for M–167 will be taller than a pattern for M–166.)

Questions for Readers

There are other questions that can't be addressed with data available at this time, but could be answered with input from readers: Are different layouts of lettering seen on "Give Me a Penny (screw)" (M–166) banks? And do the layouts on the three patterns described in this paper account for all of the layouts seen on the iron banks?

The layouts of lettering on the three patterns are shown in Photos 5 to 7. To make comparisons easier lines have been added to the photos. Line (a) is an extension of the vertical leg of the "E" in "PENNY", line (b) of the right vertical leg of the first "N" in "PENNY", and line (c) of the vertical leg of the "E" in "GIVE".

–  –  –

There is nothing magical about these particular three lines; others could be used. But this set of

lines seems able to distinguish the layouts of the lettering on the three patterns:

• On Kidd's pattern line (b) intersects the bottom center of the "M". On the other two it intersects the top left of the "M".

Proposal for Identifying Variations of Cast Iron Still Banks p. 5 Supplement No. 2, Modified Working Patterns: "Give Me a Penny" Bank

• On Pattern #1 from Robison, line (c) nearly intersects the left vertical leg of the first "N" in "PENNY". On the other two it more closely parallels the diagonal leg of the "N".

• On Pattern #2 from Robison, line (b) completely misses the end of "GIVE. ME" and passes barely above the "Y" of "PENNY". On the other two it intersects the bottom right of the "M". Also notice that on Pattern #2 from Robison the period after "ME" is much larger than on other two patterns.

Of course, the same intersections should be found on the iron banks made from a particular

pattern. So I am asking that readers consider these questions:

• If you have a "Give Me a Penny (screw)" bank, does the layout of the lettering match that on one of the three patterns described here? It if is different, how is it different?

• If you have two or more "Give Me a Penny (screw)" banks are the layouts of lettering on the two banks the same or different?

Please email your findings to me and I'll post them on the ToyBanks.info. If possible, please include digital photos of your bank(s).

Postscript: This Supplement has focused on the "Give Me a Penny" banks. Bill Robison has

noted that when Wing joined the Toy Trust production of five other banks also moved to Hubley:

Billy Bounce (Give Billy a Penny) (M–14), Santa without Tree (M–59), Santa with Tree (M–61), Foxy Grandpa (M–326), and Elephant (M–454). Wing produced these banks with turn pin fasteners, and Hubley eventually made them with screws. Was this accomplished in the same way as with the "Give Me a Penny" banks? I don't know. But it will be fun finding out.

Acknowledgement: The author thanks Frank Kidd and his daughter Julie Kidd for their gracious hospitality and assistance in photographing banks at Kidd's Toy Museum. I thank Bill Robison for his hypothesis about the patterns, for numerous discussions, and for photos of his patterns. I also thank Bob Saylor and Mike Henry for the important information that they provided.

Please direct comments to Fritz Kokesh at fritz@toybanks.info or 177 Pemberton St. #1, Cambridge, MA 02140.

Copyright © 2003 Fritz Kokesh, Cambridge, Massachusetts; all rights reserved. This paper may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. For copies contact the author or go to www.toybanks.info.

References More exactly, the message on the patterns is: "Give Me. A Penny". I cannot even invent a meaning for the period following "Me".

Fritz Kokesh, Proposal for Identifying Variations of Cast Iron Still Banks, Supplement No. 1, Modified Working Patterns: "Prancing Horse on Oval Base (Beauty)" Bank. December 8, 2003.

Bill Robison, Seminar presented at 2003 SBCCA Convention, Marietta, Ohio.

Andy and Susan Moore, "The Penny Bank Book: Collecting Still Banks," Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Exton, Pennsylvania.

Of course, they wouldn't be expected to be perfect fits because iron and brass shrink to different extents.

Research conclusions of Bob Saylor as communicated to me by Bill Robison.

p. 6 Proposal for Identifying Variations of Cast Iron Still Banks

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