National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Toy Bank: Toy Bank: "Teddy and the Bear"
Rendered by Pearl Torell (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor and graphite on paperboard
overall: 28 x 35.4 cm (11 x 13 15/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 9 3/4" high; 3" long; 2 1/2" wide
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Toys from the Index of American Design
Object 20 of 26

Perhaps the most avidly collected toys of all are mechanical banks. Simple cast iron banks with no animation were first manufactured just after the Civil War. With the development of spring mechanisms, many intricate and ingenious models appeared. Mechanical banks flourished between about 1870 and 1910. In this example, dated 1906, a coin is placed in the gun; when the lever is pressed, the coin is shot into a slot in the tree trunk and the bear's head springs up. The toy is derived from a famous event: Theodore Roosevelt, on a hunting expedition in Mississippi, refused to shoot a bear cub. The cartoonist Clifford Berryman was present and immortalized the incident in the next day's newspaper; thus, the "Teddy bear" was born. This bank was made by the Steven Company Iron Foundry of Cromwell, Connecticut.

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