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Have you ever wondered where piggy banks got their name?

Piggy banks are often given to children to help them learn how to save, spend with discretion and appreciate the value of money. However, it's not just kids who use them - many adults also have a piggy bank or even a simple coin jar to help them put away extra change until it's enough to take to a self-service coin counting machine. The concept of saving up extra change certainly isn't new, even though it may have become more common when people looked to save additional money during the economic downturn. Piggy banks actually have a long history and have evolved over the years to become the pig-shaped jars we often give to children today.

Where did piggy banks originate?
In 15th century Europe, most people relied upon an affordable orange clay, known as pygg, to create most of their household essentials. Plates, bowls and cups were all made using this substance. After the clay proved to be effective and cheap, people also began to make clay dishes and jars in which they could save their coins, and these became known as pygg banks.

Families relied on pygg banks for hundreds of years. People began to forget that "pygg" referred to the clay used to make these jars when a potter making a pygg bank created one in the shape of an actual pig. The new design became extremely popular and people were soon saving money in containers shaped like animals, rather than simple jars and dishes.

Piggy banks have developed even further in recent decades. It was once impossible for someone to retrieve their change without smashing the container, but manufacturers started including holes large enough for people to remove their change without breaking the bank. This allowed savers to reuse their banks for as long as they needed them. Recently, they've been made of more diverse materials, such as metal and plastic, and also come in more unique shapes than ever before. Some even include electronic technology that counts change as it is deposited into the bank.

While many people don't know the history of their piggy bank, they do recognize the value. These jars have long taught children the value of money and helped people of all ages improve their saving habits and set aside funds for the future.

05/14/2013