Sunday, July 10, 2011

William Tell cast iron mechanical bank from 1896

Antique cast iron mechanical bank

It is amazing to see the various clever ways in which the designers figured out entertaining ways to get a penny into the bank. This bank features a classic scene in which the penny is shot from a crossbow over the head of William Tell.

From the ebay description of the mechanical bank:

The Bank features the figure of William Tell pointing a rifle shaped weapon at an apple on the head of a little boy who stands in front of a castle tower. To operate, the odd shaped piece on the top of the gun barrel is pressed back until it snaps into position. This "loading" of the mechanism also causes the head of William Tell to lower into a position that makes it appear he is taking aim at the apple. A coin is placed on top of the barrel just in front of the odd shaped piece. The boy’s right arm is pulled down bringing the apple to the top of his head. When the right foot of William Tell is pressed down he fires the gun and the coin shoots forward knocking the apple from the boy’s head as he raises his right arm. The coin is deposited inside the castle tower ringing a bell and the head of William Tell falls backwards. The mechanism here is in excellent working condition.

The William Tell Bank was patented in 1896 by Russell Frisbie and manufactured by J & E. Stevens for a several years.

Here is where you can see additional pictures and read more about this William Tell cast iron mechanical bank from 1896.

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Anonymous Falk Keuten said...

I recommend this book I got recently via amazon very cheap. Now it is very expensive:
Dan Morphy: Price Guide to Mechanical Banks, ca.400 pages, 2007:

July 10, 2011 at 4:48 PM  
Anonymous gadget said...

Another great reference on the inner workings of Mechanical Banks is this CD of collected patents:

Appologies for the commercial entry, but thought it was approrate for the subject.

July 11, 2011 at 10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Auction (, a vintage antique cast iron William Tell Mechanical Bank dating late 1800's in wonderful condition. Patented in 1896 by Russell Frisbie and manufactured for 7 years by J&E Stevens Co., the William Tell is the signature example of mechanical banks at the turn of the century and a classic example of Americana.

June 27, 2012 at 12:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have one,seems older. what is it worth?

December 9, 2019 at 9:59 PM  

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