BY SY SCHRECKINGER
THE SUBJECT OF discussion, this article, is a most distinguished member of the mechanical bank community. “Bureau Toy Savings Bank” was the first known patented, commercially manufactured, mechanical bank.
A landmark date in the history of mechanical banks was February 16, 1869. It was on that date that James A. Serrill of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was assigned Patent Number 87,006 for his invention of “Bureau Toy Savings Bank”. These patent papers bear testimony to the fact that the final production bank adhered faithfully to Serrill’s drawing-design.
“Bureau Bank” is constructed almost entirely of wood, the lone exception being its baffle, which is composed of cloth. The bank incorporates a simplistic and ingenious mechanism. Its action is initiated by opening the top drawer of the chest and placing a coin within. The drawer is then closed, causing the bottom of the drawer to tilt downward, whereupon the coin falls unseen into the bank. Upon reopening the top drawer, its bottom flips upward. Lo and behold! The coin appears to have mysteriously and magically disappeared.