Where Did the Piggy Bank Come From?

For many people, it will have occurred at some point in your lifetime where you will have owned a piggy bank. Even as adults, some people retain that love of piggy banks they had as a child and continue to save a few odd coins in one.

But how did piggy banks first begin life, and why are they called by this affectionate sounding name?

The origin dates back to the 1400s, when people were regularly making pots, bowls and other receptacles out of clay. But, there was more than one different type of clay, and one of these was known by the name ‘pygg’. It was frequently used to make dishes and similar items from; purely because it was one of the cheapest materials around for this use. The clay was of an orange colour, and many people kept a pygg jar, as they were called, to throw odd coins into.

As time went on, people found new methods and materials for creating these jars. But while pygg clay eventually stopped being used, the idea of having a jar with a slot for putting money into didn’t.

And, of course as we know today, the name pygg ended up transforming itself into pig. More and more of these money jars ended up being shaped as pigs, although no one seems to know quite how or why this started. It is thought that it could have been down to a simple error in the understanding of the word, seeing as they both sound the same when said aloud.

However, there is no doubt that the metamorphosis of the pygg clay jars into the piggy banks you know and love today has secured their future as savings vehicles for children. Instilling good savings habits at a young age sets children up for their future, and encourages regular saving.

Of course, the design has changed somewhat over the years, with the original designs being made as a hollow pig with a slot for the money to go in. So, if you wanted to get the money back out again you would have to sacrifice your pig to get it. Nowadays most piggy banks have a small plug in the bottom to allow you to keep the pig even when you get your money out.

There’s no doubt that the piggy bank plays an important role in teaching young children about savings and investments.

Furthermore, they can choose the type and style of piggy bank they like the look of, and focus on it as a way to save their pennies over time.

So, the next time you see your child pop some coins into their own piggy bank think back to the origins of this tradition and remember how it all started, hundreds of years ago.

Source by Isla Campbell

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