Wonderful and rare, original, ca1880 Cast Iron Mechanical Bank by J. Of Cromwell, Connecticut titled the “Owl Turns Head” with outstanding, original surface paint. This original Cast Iron Mechanical Bank measures approx. 7 1/2″ tall (to the top of the Owl’s ear) and 3 3/4″ by 3 at the base. Known to collectors as the “Owl Turns Head” it was patented in 1880 by James H. Bowen and manufactured by J & E. Stevens of Cromwell, Connecticut for a number of years thereafter. Unusual is the fact that the bank is covered by two patents, a design patent and a regular patent, both issued to James H. Bowen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The design patent is dated September 21, 1880, and the other September 28, 1880. Interestingly, the drawing of the design patent shows just the owl on a log. The tree limb extending upward along the owl’s left wing is not shown. The regular patent of September 28th shows this limb in the drawing. As a matter of fact, there are three drawings of the owl in this patent. The operation of the bank is simple, but effective. A coin is placed at the top of the branch. The operating lever in the rear is depressed causing the owl’s head to turn counter clockwise and thereby allowing the coin to drop inside the owl itself. Bowen explains in the patent that he wanted to achieve the effect of the owl discovering the existence of a coin at the side of its head and reaching for it. The head then quickly returning to position, on releasing the lever, creating the effect that the owl apparently swallows the coin. Coins are removed by means of a conventional round Stevens trap in the base plate. The colors of the bank are as follows: The owl is an all over tan-khaki with dark brown highlighting of the feathers. The log and limb are brown with a darker brown bark. In the back there is representation of green foliage at the bottom and also at the top of the limb. Each end of the bottom log is yellow with brown age lines. The bank shown has yellow glass eyes with black pupils. Early versions of this bank have larger glass eyes with large black pupils and brown with yellow lined irises. And, by the way, on the front of the log there is a little green and a little yellow on small stump pieces. The Bank is very finely cast and retains the vast majority of its original surface paint which is bright ands vibrant and exceptionally well preserved. However, the Bank lacks its original glass eyes which were apparently replaced a very long time ago with wonderful, mother of pearl discs with steel “pupils”. Replacement glass eyes of a very high quality can be obtained from those manufacturing replacement parts for cast iron toys and banks. This wonderful, original “Owl Turns Head” Mechanical Bank is in excellent condition with no cracks, chips, breaks, repairs or damage of any kind. The Bank retains approx. 95% of its original surface paint and the paint is 100% original – the Bank has never been restored, repainted, touched up or altered in any way and the paint is bright and bold, rich and warm. The only significant paint loss is to the yellow centers of the log ends. The mechanism is in very good working condition. As stated above, the Bank does have replacements for its glass eyes (available glass replacements are easy to obtain) but retains the original trap cover. Please see the numerous scans below for a good indication of the outstanding condition of the surface paint which is truly beautiful when viewed “in hand”. A wonderful and highly collectible, ca1880, J & E Stevens “Owl Turns Head”, Cast Iron Mechanical Bank and a fantastic addition to any collection!! Please Note: The Mechanical Bank offered here is unconditionally guaranteed authentic, original and of the period – manufactured by J & E Stevens in the late 19th century. And Click Here to Add Us To Your Favorite Sellers List. Click Here to Discover More About this Item and Many Others on Our New Informational / Non-Commercial / Reference Blog – Walnutts. The free listing tool. The item “1880’s OWL TURNS HEAD CAST IRON MECHANICAL BANK with GREAT PAINT By J & E STEVENS” is in sale since Friday, July 03, 2015. This item is in the category “Collectibles\Banks, Registers & Vending\Mechanical Banks”. The seller is “walnutts” and is located in Brewster, Massachusetts. This item can be shipped worldwide.
- Original/Reproduction: Original
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