Search Tips

Quotation Marks—Enclosing a multiword phrase in quotation marks tells the search engine to list only sites that contain those words in that exact order.

The following must appear in ALL CAPS and with a space on each side.

AND—Indicates that the records found must contain all the words joined by the AND operator. For example, to find objects that contain the words wizard, oz, and movie, enter wizard AND oz AND movie.

OR—Records found must contain at least one of the words joined by OR. For example, to find objects that contain the word dog or the word puppy, enter dog OR puppy.

AND NOT—Indicates that the records found cannot contain the word that follows the term AND NOT. For example, to find objects that contain the word pets but not the word dogs, enter pets AND NOT dogs.

Online Collections

Uncle Sam Bank

mechanical bank

ca. 1895

"I Want You to Save Your Money!" That might have been the caption for this 1886 Uncle Sam mechanical bank manufactured by the Shepard Hardware & Manufacturing Company, Buffalo, New York. One of only four cast-iron, mechanical banks ever to contain clockwork-sustained action, the jovial "Uncle" drops a coin placed in his extended right hand into a bag marked "U.S." while his mouth opens and closes. Is he laughing or just saying, "Thanks"? Long before the now-famous World War I recruiting poster turned Uncle Sam into the popular figure we still cherish, the character represented the height of national patriotic feelings. Said to have originated with Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, who supplied the army with food barrels stamped "U.S." during the War of 1812, the image of "Uncle Sam" became ever more popular as a symbol of American identity during times of national crisis. In the era following the Civil War, the iconic image experienced a resurgence in popularity as the reunited nation sought symbols of American identity. In 1886 the mechanical bank combined popular patriotic sentiments with parents' interest in teaching kids to save.

ArtistC. Shepard & P. Adams
ManufacturerShepard Hardware Co.
Materialpainted cast iron
OriginBuffalo, NY
Object ID73.1520

All artifact images, interpretive information, and website text
© The Strong.