Who Invented Piggy Banks


Have you ever wondered who thought it was a good idea to place coins in a vessel that looks like a pig? The beloved piggy bank is often a childs first go round with saving money. Piggy banks may seem childlike but they have a long interesting history. They have a history as a matter of fact that was born before the idea of handing your money over to someone else (the banks) to keep for you was ever even considered.

The history of the piggy bank dates back more than 60 years ago to the Middle Ages when pots and other vessels were made from clay or pygg. Extra coins that were found to be available were kept in this pygg pot.

A Play On Words

As far as language goes the word pygg was used to describe the clay used to create the pots and vessels. The pig seem popularly used today was pronounced differently during this time 600 years ago. As language evolved, the two became one in the same work making pygg (pronounced pug) into pig pot.

Of course all this is interesting but still does not exactly answer who it is that invented the piggy bank. The answer is very difficult to give because as early as the 14th century from Indonesia, Java and other areas there were pots shaped like pigs that were being used to store money.

As far as the European legend goes it was an enterprising pot maker that was asked to make a vessel with a slit in it to add money too. The pot thrower made the pygg pot into a pig pot by creating a pot that resembled a pig. The early pig pots did not have a way to get the coins out so they had to be smashed to do so leaving very few pristine pots for history.

And The Bank?

Piggy pots evolved into piggy banks somewhere along the line and it is thought that again it was a play on words that brought it about. In Italy where some of the earliest “banks” were found a money trader would use a bench in the open market to lend money. The money trader would use a bench with money scattered across it to entice his customers. The Italian word for bench was “banco” which is where the English word for bank got its start.

This leaves the invention of the piggy bank with many possibilities. From a pot thrower in Europe or someone else in Java or Indonesia who never got the credit.