Battleship Maine – Spanish American War

The Battleship Maine

Construction of the U.S.S. Maine was authorized in August of 1886, and she was launched in 1889 and commissioned in 1895. After several years spent patrolling the East Coast and Caribbean, orders sent the Maine and her crew to Cuba in response to continued civil unrest on the island.

The photograph above is a 1896 image of the ship framed in a sheet iron frame made from remnants of [...] Click here to continue reading.


The Guy Zani, Jr. Safe Collection – Provenance Note Morphy 3-30-2013

The Guy Zani, Jr. Safe Collection

Guy Zani Jr has found a “safe harbor” at Morphy Auctions, where his remarkable collection of more than 80 rare antique safes will be auctioned on Saturday, March 30, 2013. Zani’s 25-year quest to amass the finest and most elusive models resulted in a premier collection that includes such coveted examples as salesman’s samples, mini cannonballs, Hobnails, money chests, safes in wood cabinets, small personal safes, and coveted [...] Click here to continue reading.


Trinity House Boxes

Trinity House Boxes

Trinity House was the name for the lighthouse service in Great Britain in the 19th century. While on station, the keepers of lighthouses and lightships made exceptional boxes with fancy wood inlays, including marquetry and parquetry, often featuring sloops, lighthouses and other nautical symbols of the period. Sizes typically fall in the 6- to 12-inch range. The keepers sold these boxes directly to the captains of sailing vessels using Trinity House [...] Click here to continue reading.


Vindex Company

Vindex Banks

The Vindex Company is perhaps most well known for its role as a sewing machine manufacturer in Belvidere, Illinois. Although little is known about the reasons behind their venture, Vindex briefly moved into bank manufacturing during the early 20th century. The company produced a number of mechanical banks and at least two still banks during this era.


Banthrico Banks

Banthrico Coin Banks

The Banthrico name and origin can be traced to Chicago in 1931 when Jerome Aronson and Joseph Eisendrath purchased the Banker’s Thrift Corporation. Banker’s Thrift had joined forces with the Stronghart Company in 1929 and had become a well-known maker of small steel building banks. The new owners shortened the name to ‘Banthrico’ and continued the already established line of promotional banks. Early success led to the purchase in 1940 of [...] Click here to continue reading.


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 [...] Click here to continue reading.


Golliwogg Dolls

Golliwogg Dolls

The market for cloth character dolls really boomed with the creation of the Golly by Florence Upton, who was born to English parents in New York in 1873 and illustrated a children’s story, “The Adventures of two Dutch Dolls And A Golliwogg ” (written by Bertha Upton, 1895), with a black rag-doll character called Golliwogg who had a big smile, fuzzy hair and staring, white-rimmed eyes. He wore brightly colored clothes, including [...] Click here to continue reading.


A.C. Williams Company Banks & Toys

A.C. Williams Banks & Toys

When A.C. Williams, Jr. bought his father’s business, the A.C. Williams Co., in 1886, it was a leading manufacturer of hardware items in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. After fires in 1889 and 1892 destroyed the Chagrin Falls operation, Williams decided to move the company to Ravenna, Ohio. It was soon after this move that a Detroit buyer suggested that the miniature product models carried by the company salesmen would make [...] Click here to continue reading.


Nicol & Company

Nicol & Company

There is little corporate information known about Nicol & Company, established in 1883 in Chicago, Illinois. However, what is known is that the company took great pride in advertising their challenging “trick” safes and banks, which featured innovative opening devices and puzzle features.


Enterprise Manufacturing Co.

Enterprise Manufacturing Co.

The Enterprise Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was primarily a hardware manufacturer known for its coffee mills and domestic devices such as cherry pitters and apple peelers. Taking advantage of the 100-year milestone in America’s history, and the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, the company produced a number of souvenir banks that depicted patriotic landmarks, such as Independence Hall. The company continued to manufacture banks after the exposition until the late 1800′s.


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