The Origin Of The Piggy Bank


Megan Cohen looks back:

In [the Midde Ages], when the question of where to keep money arose, people didn’t typically have the option of a local bank. Instead, the answer oftentimes involved keeping their valuables in a vessel made of pygg. 

What was pygg, exactly? Pygg, a word with Old English origins, was a type of dense orange clay, popular in Western Europe for its use in the creation of a wide variety of containers, jars, and cups. The common name for these containers was "pygg jars." As the pygg jars were fairly ubiquitous, they were used for storing a variety of items, including money. 

(Photo: Children touch a giant model globe in the shape of a piggy bank, part of an art installation entitled 'Cool Globes,' about combating global warming and climate change in the Kongens Nytorv area in Copenhagen on December 8, 2009. By Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)