J. & E. Stevens Co.

J. & E. Stevens Banks & Toys

John and Elisha Stevens founded the J. & E. Stevens Co. in 1843. Based in Cromwell, Connecticut, the company manufactured hardware equipment, but switched to toys and banks in the 1870′s when an inventor named John Hall introduced the Stevens to his patented design for a bank with moving parts. Hall named the bank the Excelsior and it soon revolutionized the cast iron toy industry, acting as a catalyst that changed the Steven’s hardware business into the oldest toy and bank company in America.

Although the J. & E. Stevens Co. became renowned for their mechanical banks, it also produced a number of still banks, toy stoves, cap guns and pull toys. The company ceased manufacturing mechanical banks in 1928, and closed altogether during World War II due to iron shortages. After the war, the J. & E. Stevens Co. reopened under new ownership to produce toys (mostly cap guns) until the 1950′s.

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