Mechanical bank:Clown on Globe

J. & E. Stevens Co.1890

The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

Saving money is fun! That central belief of late-19th-century Americans is the basic idea behind mechanical banks like this one. One of the most prolific mechanical bank designers at the end of the 19th century, James Bowen patented the mechanics for the "Clown on Globe" bank in 1890 and promptly used it in several other models. The J. & E. Stevens Company of Cromwell, Connecticut, manufactured the bank as their "Funny Clown Bank." Like other toys of the era, the Clown on Globe design banked on the appeal of a circus. The creation of the Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1881 signaled the widespread popularity of the circus in America. Astute manufacturers quickly gauged consumer interest and created toys based on circus themes. The bank's intricate mechanics generate a series of animated actions. The clown locks into a sitting position on the globe and the lever ratchets into an upright position. The depositor winds up the globe once and presses the lever to deposit a coin, which makes the clown and globe spin. Pressing the lever again causes the clown to flip into a handstand while the globe spins again. The bank is now reset for another coin.

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  • Title: Mechanical bank:Clown on Globe
  • Creator: J. & E. Stevens Co.
  • Date Created: 1890, 1890
  • Location: Cromwell, CT, Cromwell, CT
  • Subject Keywords: clown, globe, clown, globe
  • Type: Mechanical Toys, Mechanical Toys
  • Medium: painted cast iron
  • Object ID: 73.1517, 73.1517
  • Artist: James H. Bowen

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