Antique Tin Banks
(Thank you to Rebecca Jadidian for loaning this collection)
Since the 19th century, still banks -- so called to differentiate them from banks with mechanical parts -- have been produced in huge quantities and many styles. They depicted, at first, a fascinating range of mid-19th century buildings and, later, human and animal figures. Although a few were made of wood, glass, pottery, or composition, by far the most common materials were tinplate and cast-iron. Tinplate banks were most popular from the 1860s to 1890s. At first painted by hand, they were later stenciled and, in the early 20th century, decorated with color lithography. The majority of tinplate banks took the form of a small, simple building, often with the word "bank" printed across the front.
The more elaborate types of toy bank buildings were made of cast iron. Most cast-iron banks were mass-produced, using highly detailed molds, by A. C. Williams, J. & E. Stevens, and Kenton from the 1870s to the 1930s. Some were assembled from separate, individually cast pieces, allowing for the creation of quite ornate architectural styles, such as towering skyscrapers. Cast-iron still banks also depicted a variety of human figures, including soldiers, sailors, Boy Scouts, and comic characters like Buster Brown and the Yellow Kid, as well as animals ranging from cats and dogs to lions and
Do you have a collection that you would like to display and share with others? If so, contact the curator or museum staff. Displays in the Collectors Corner usually last around two months. All types of collections are welcomed!