Since today is tax day, we thought it would be a good time to feature these banks from the collection ( in case, like us, you are wishing you had saved up a little more to pay the tax man).
The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula has a couple of interesting banks from different time periods.
Among the earliest are these two. This little elephant is made of cast iron and would have been painted when he was first put together. A seam runs down the middle, showing where he could be pulled apart to reach the saved pennies inside. Alas, he has gotten quite rusty over the years, and his two halves seem firmly stuck together now. According to our paperwork, someone found this bank while digging under their house, which would help explain his degraded condition.
This bank below is a collection of gears and springs inside, which control the crank on top. You would insert a coin, turn the crank, and a number on top of the bank would flip over, helping you chart how many deposits you had made or how much money you’d saved (if you we’re putting in pennies). The bottom of the bank gives the date this model was patented – September 27, 1904.
You might think these two cast iron banks are also late 19th or early 20 century, but you’d be wrong. These are pretty reproductions.
Not being old doesn’t make them any less delightful, however – click below to see how they work:
If only a dog did tricks when we deposited our paychecks…
A bank currently on display in the WWII propaganda exhibit takes a novel (and patriotic) approach – instructions that come with the bank say, “he’ll blast the axis with your loose change! Drop nickels, dimes and quarters in this Bomb Bank. Holds about $18.75. When loaded, break open and convert change into $25.00 War Bond at any post office or bank.” Made of paper mâché, the bank would have been easy to bust open, just like a little bomb.
The last bank also has a mechanical element. This promotional piece for Collier’s Encyclopedia advises savers that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Drop a coin in the bank every day to turn over the date, and, one assumes, after a year perhaps you will have enough saved to buy an encyclopedia! (The “Conscience Slot” in the back allows you to deposits without turning the date over so you can deposit more than one coin per day.)