Useless But Compelling Facts – April 2008 Answer

Our prize for last month goes to long-standing reader and Legal Bytes’ friend, Debbie Kaste, Director of Legal Operations Support for Hilton Hotels. She (very quickly and quite correctly) knew why so many children’s toy coin banks are in the shape of a pig. In Middle English, “pygg” referred to a dense type of orange clay used in Europe for making household jars, dishes and cookware. When people saved coins in kitchen pots and jars made of this clay, the jars became known as “pygg jars” and at some point in the 18th Century, some English potter misunderstood the word and starting making coin-collecting jars in the shape of a pig—hence the pig or “piggy” bank. By the way, it is still illegal in France to name a pig Napoleon.