Essentially, this functions as a money box for a child, but being in the form of a delivery van, it could also be played with as a vehicle in other games.
It is made from blue plastic, with details such as wheels and running boards in black, and metalwork such as lights, radiator and number plate in gold metallic colour. There is an advertising logo on each side of the truck, which reads; N E Cash Ltd -General Stores – Est 1910 – Hardware and Provisions. The model is made to look like a vehicle from the early 20th century, with open driver’s cab, and large storage compartment to store the coins being saved. A lug on the plastic edge at the rear of the vehicle, snaps into a corresponding hole – allowing the back door of the van to be opened so the coins can be removed.
Children love to improvise games which replicate events which they see in the real world, and this toy could form a part of such games. Making up stories about going to the shops and buying stuff for the home, being a shopkeeper or a delivery driver would appeal to boys and girls. Children of the 1950’s or 60’s (when this toy was probably made) would have been familiar with vans delivering all sorts of provisions to homes in the UK. Although this item relates to “Hardware and Provisions”, a whole range of goods including groceries (eg bread, meat, vegetables, milk and dairy products) were often delivered, as not every household had access to a family car. Other services such as laundry, knife sharpening and refuse collection were other commonly seen visitors to homes around the country.
Parents were beginning to have enough expendable income of their own at this time, so that they could start encouraging their offspring to begin managing their own pocket money. Money boxes became popular – coming in a huge range of shapes and sizes. Some were single use, having no mechanism for removing the coins whilst keeping the box intact – so the box was smashed to gain access – a sometimes ceremonial event! Money boxes were made in wood (often with a rubber bung), metal (sometimes with a key or other locking mechanism) or ceramic (in the shape of favourite characters from books and nursery rhymes.) Others had moving parts – such as one which, when a coin was placed into the palm of a hand resting on a box, a trapdoor would raise and the hand would slowly disappear inside, taking the coin with it. This was a time when youngsters were developing a profile of their own in society – teenagers started to demand a portion of the economic and cultural life of the country – and money boxes were the first steps in parents relinquishing part of their control over their children to the children themselves.