Quick Read: The Piggy Bank

Where did the “Piggy Bank” come from? These days the piggy bank is taken for granted- it’s a coin bank, shaped like a pig. Kids love them. But where did they really come from? Why do people around the world stuff loose change into small pink pigs?

blog 25 June 2012

No one invented the piggy bank. The piggy banks’ origin owes more to the history of language, than to an individual inventor. In old English (around the 15th century) there was a word “pygg” which referred to a type of orange clay. People made all kinds of useful objects out of clay, including dishes and jars to hold spare change. Around the 18th century, the word “pygg” now sounded the same as the word for the animal “pig”. Perhaps an order came in for a “pygg” jar and the potter misunderstood.

Over the next two hundred to three hundred years, people forgot that “pygg” referred to the earthenware material. In the nineteenth century when English potters received requests for piggy banks, they produced banks shaped like a pig. Of course, the pigs appealed to the customers and the children were delighted.

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