The Complete History of the Piggy Bank

You may be asking yourself why is it that we save coins in something we call a piggy bank? You may even be wondering why the pig is associated with saving money. It really isn't a mystery and this article will take a look at the history and origin; answering the questions that you might be asking yourself. However, keep in mind that these cute little items aren't only used for saving money today, they are also collector's items; meaning that their monetary value in a collector's eye can be valuable if they get their hands on a vintage piggy bank. In the United States, children are given piggy banks to teach them the concept of saving money for the future. However, in China, the piggy bank is considered to be a lucky charm. In Europe today, the piggy bank is said to bring about good luck and wealth. In some countries, when the New Year begins, people give gifts of little pigs in hopes of having a good year financially. When we think of piggy banks, we usually associate them with children…but, piggy banks are just as popular with the older generation (adults) as they are the children.

How and Where the Piggy Bank originated

A long time ago, during the 15th century in Europe; all kinds of pottery for house wares were made with orange clay. These house wares included such things as plates, bowls and drinking utensils. Other items that were made with clay were jars, jugs, bottles and containers to hold small items such as loose change when workers would empty their pockets at the end of the work day. This loose coins or change was money that they saved and put aside for emergency use. This shows that the history of the piggy bank started in Europe. It also shows that this iconic bank is one of the easy ways to save money. Today, people save coins in jars, cans and large bottles that they have in their homes, filling them up before taking them off to the bank, or their favorite coin spot to redeem into dollar bills for spending later. However, the word piggy bank actually derives from the type of clay used for pottery making, which back then was called Pygg Clay. It wasn't until the 18th century that the word pygg was associated with the hoofed and snouted animal. This came about when someone, a potter made a clay jar in the shape of the pig, which became very appealing in the 20th century. However, in earlier time periods, coins that were collected and saved in the homes were kept in pygg jars; these jars were known as the pygg bank. This is the history of the piggy bank and how it all began, starting with loose change, a pottery container and a clay called pygg.

How It Evolved Over Time

When it comes to easy ways to save money and teaching children about saving their nickels and dimes for a rainy day; parents and grandparents usually turn to the cute little and inspiring piggy bank. In the history of the piggy bank, time and technology changes the physical appearance of things. So it is with the pygg bank. The design has changed, but the saving concept remains the same. It use to be that the only way to get the coins out of a piggy bank was to break it open…smash it, for there wasn't an opening big enough to take the money out once you put it in. But today, piggy banks are made with an opening that has a cork in it for easy removal, so the bank does not have to be destroyed when you want to take the coins out. In the middle ages, piggy banks were actually jars made from clay, but over time; craftsmen learned how to make a piggy bank using different material for molding and shaping objects other than the traditional pig. The piggy bank or money box went from clay to ceramic, plastic, porcelain and plaster. They went from the iconic pig appearance to other characters that were appealing to children and adult as well. They went from being a dull, drab conspicuous kitchen house ware object to becoming decorated items to put on display in a child's room; still promoting the concept of saving for the future or saving up for something special. Using a piggy bank is just one of the easy ways to save money at home. Yes, the pygg bank has evolved since the Middle Ages; you can now see them on display in art exhibits, finely decorated; some small enough to fit in a child's hands while others are made to resemble large cartoon characters such as Porky the Pig.

How We Use it Today

In today's modern society, putting nickels and dimes in a piggy bank or a pickle jar may seem a bit old fashion, especially since it is all about credit cards and online banking in this 21st century of electronic technology. But, the fact remains, teaching youngsters about the concept of saving and the rewards of saving starts with an in home saving system…the iconic piggy bank, which can turn learning about the fundamentals of money; having it, earning it and saving it. Today, having something to save money in from a child's point of view can be entertaining as well as educational. Even if you do not have the traditional piggy bank for teaching the value of money, parents today can learn how to make a piggy bank for this financial lesson in saving money now for tomorrow's future. The concept of saving money today is no different from what it was when people were saving money in pygg jars. When it comes to the history of the piggy bank consumers still save their nickel and dimes today as they did yesterday; only their nickel and dimes go toward college education, automobiles, down payments on huge purchases and vacation packages to name a few, or just saving for something special and expensive.

Links to More Resources for Classroom and Student Study

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