Piggy banks have their origins in the fifteenth century. At that time, metal was expensive and pygg, an orange colored clay, was used for dishes and pots. People would save their money in jars made of pygg and they became known as “pygg pots.” Over time the word “pygg” evolved with the English alphabet as “pigge”, and finally into “pig.” Piggy banks have been used for centuries to teach children about saving and budgeting their money.
Our two banks, created in the 1880s and 1960s, show the different shapes have taken over the years. The oldest bank on display is made of cast iron. The eagle’s wings and mouth are moveable. When the lever is pressed down, the large eagle dips downward to meet the small birds in the nest as the small birds reach upwards to meet the large eagle. Money is deposited into the bank through a slot located within the nest. This is a literal demonstration of saving a nest egg! Two patent dates are present underneath the bank, one from February 1875 and the second, January 1883. The second bank is a replica of the Erie County Savings Bank, located at One Main Place in Buffalo. The high rise building has its coin slot located on the roof of the building. The probable date of creation of this bank is 1969, after the bank had been demolished.