The origin of the piggy bank goes back to the English word pygg or pig which was used in the 1400s to describe a pot of jar made of clay. A pig was filled with some sort of fluid, like wine or in a few cases even metal or coins.
Curiously enough at the same time a word pronounced in the same way and used at the same time described the animal – the pig.
The piggy bank brought the two origins of the word together – a porcelain container in the shape of a pig. The earliest coin collecting piggy bank was found in Java around about 1400.
And now to the bank part – it related originally to benches on which money was placed, a sort of counter which was used for early currency trading in Italy and from which the word bank as a money house originated. When the trader went out of business – his bench was broken – he was broke.
In modern times, the piggy bank was a way for children to learn to save. The piggy bank is often made out of a breakable material in the shape of a big – and the idea is taught that it is a good idea to made small savings in order to be able to afford something bigger.
The first times the piggy bank appears in print were in the United States. In 1913 a child remembers her room with pink roses, her Teddy bear and a “desk with the piggy bank on top of it” and the Baltimore Sun in 1917 reports that of the 108 schools in the city “in seven of them children have mobilized their piggy banks and bought bonds” (obviously school taught financial literary in quite a different way in those days).