Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A piggybank is a small container in the shape of a pig used in one's home to keep money (usually small change) in. It got its name from a clay substance called pygg from which the early (non pig shaped) ones were made of. After a while, due to a predictable confusion, someone started to make the clay vessels in the shape of pigs. Once the meaning had transferred from the substance to the shape, piggybanks began to be made from other substances, including glass, plaster, and plastic.
Typically, the piggybank has a slot on the pig's back through which coins are inserted. Some piggybanks have an opening in the bottom, plugged with a cork or a lid, by which one may subsequently remove one's money without damaging the vessel. Other piggybanks must be broken in order to withdraw the saved money. Because piggybanks are often given to children to teach them about saving, the necessity of sacrificing the bank (often charmingly decorated) to recover and spend one's money may be seen as a way to teach a lesson about opportunity costs.
Most piggybanks are small enough to be held in the hand. However, very large piggybanks have been made, some as tall as three feet, often elaborately decorated in the form of various well-known cartoon pigs such as Porky Pig. Although the piggybank has generally been regarded as a craft object rather than fine art, recently some artists working in ceramics have produced elaborate piggybanks intended to be appreciated solely as art, which have appeared in prestigious galleries.
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