How to Date Your Hoosier

Helpful Clues to determine the age of your Coppes Napanee kitchen cabinet
First, a word about the term, HOOSIER CABINETS. The term Hoosier Cabinets is a broad category term that implies a style of cabinet that was manufactured in or near the state of Indiana. Most of the older free standing style of kitchen cabinets were actually made near Indiana and there for can be rightly called HOOSIER CABINETS. But they should also be identified by their specific manufacturer. Here at COPPES COMMONS we have collected names of 33 different companies that produced kitchen cabinets that are easily grouped within the Hoosier Cabinets name. This information was found in advertising in magazines, in the antique markets, or listings on EBAY.

The period of manufacture for HOOSIER CABINETS begins before 1900 and lasts till the 2nd World War, a period of approx. 40 years, until the modern built-in kitchen cabinets were developed. Some of the companies that made this “HOOSIER” style of kitchen cabinet likely followed the growing popularity of the new kitchen cabinets. They may have already been in the general furniture manufacturing business and just added kitchen cabinets because the general public wanted the new style of kitchen cabinets. There is a lot of similarities in the HOOSIER style kitchen cabinet, companies borrowed ideas from the examples on the market. To confuse this even more there was a large kitchen cabinet company in New Castle, Indiana that was named The Hoosier Manufacturing Company.

The factory that made Coppes and or Napanee cabinets also has a long history. It began with a sawmill in 1876 and is still in business today, manufacturing kitchens. The name of the company has changed as personal left the company and partnerships developed or dissolved.

In 1902 the company name became “COPPES, ZOOK & MUTSCHLER COMPANY” when the partnership started between the existing The Nappanee Furniture Company and the Coppes Bros. & Zook Company (the saw mill). The Nappanee Furniture Co. manufactured a line of tables and a few of the new just developing style of kitchen cabinets (from an 1898 Catalog). The kitchen cabinet line was expanded during this time period (1902-12). In 1912 Mr. Dan Zook died and the partnership dissolved and became two companies. The Mutschler Brothers operated the Mutschler Kitchen Mfg. Co. and the Coppes Brothers along with Mr. Zook’s son Harold Zook became COPPES BROS. & ZOOK (approx. 1913). The company operated under this name until it was incorporated in 1936, then went by the company name of COPPES INC.

To identify the exact date of manufacture for a Coppes Napanee kitchen is difficult without access to our large collection of company catalogs. The model numbers changed quickly. In the approxmently 40 years that kitchen cabinets were mfg. by Coppes Napanee we have counted more than 300 different model numbers. As you may correctly guess the actual changes to the different models were sometimes small, the addition of a cutting board, or style of legs for example or a different mfg. process would change the model number. Please remember, there is no hard and exact rule for dating these cabinets, custom orders could be made at anytime, also they wisely continued to use up existing parts and supplies even if the cabinet model number had changed. The catalogs may not have reflected the exact date in a change of model number. Dating kitchen cabinets is not like dating automobiles, newer models did not always begin in the fall of the coming calendar year.

Things to look for in dating a Coppes Napanee
1st-Type of original finish
2nd-Metal tag on the cabinet
3rd-How was the cabinet assembled
4th-Style of flour bin

1st – What type of original finish? The earliest cabinets had a clear finish, such as shellac or lacquer. Painting the cabinets did not start until the 1920s. You could still order a cabinet with a clear finish ( or no finish )after the cabinets started to be painted. The use of a clear finish required the use of a better quality of wood in the construction of the cabinets. Oak was the most common exterior wood used in Coppes Cabinets during this clear finish era of cabinet manufacture at Coppes Napanee.

2nd – What metal tag is on the Cabinet? This tag changed when the company changed its name or a “special style of cabinet” was manufactured. I will insert pictures of the known examples.

1898-1902 We have no knowledge of the exact type of label on the cabinet’s mfg. by The Nappanee Furniture Co. Likely it would have been a heavy paper label tacked on the back.

1902- 1912 Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co.. The company was all ready using a misspelling on the town Nappanee on labels. At the time it was illegal to use the proper name of a town in advertising a product.

Cabinet Label 1902-1912

Approximately 1913 – This is a very rare Coppes Bros. and Zook cabinet nameplate.

Cabinet Label 1913-1935

1913-1935 Coppes Bros. & Zook – Brass with blue background or Aluminum with black or blue.

Cabinet Label 1913-1935

cont. 1913- 1935 This is a varation of the era. When it was used is unclear. Possibly used on the smaller cabinets, not on the DUTCH KITCHENET.

Cabinet Label 1913

After 1936 – Coppes Inc.

Cabinet Label 1936-1937

1936-37 Special label used on patented model cabinet.

Cabinet Label 1936

  • Coppes Napanee, very thin brass embossed label. This tag is rare with unknown dates for use.

Cabinet Label Unknown Date

1945-55(approx.) Coppes Napanee label of the style used on later style kitchen cabinets, . 3 3/8th in. long.

Cabinet Label 1945-1955

Example of a wood burned label used inside drawers on later model kitchens.

Cabinet Label Wood Burned

Examples of reproduction labels, of the type sold on EBAY.

Cabinet Label Reproduction

Another type of label you may find is a paper label glued on the back (both top & bottom) The labels we have seen have the model number, the finish style or color, and possibly the store that sold the cabinet or the customer. The early cabinets may have the model and other information hand written with a dark chalk or black ink type brush.

3rd – How was the cabinet assembled? These can be a deciding factor in determining who manufactured your cabinet or which company manufactured it. Here are photos of the type of side bracket used on early Coppes Napanee cabinets and a detail photo showing the way the top joint was put together. As a general rule of thumb, remember the methods changed, the styles changed, the materials changed, and using just one factor in judging the age of a cabinet may not be accurate.

image10 image11

4th What style of flour bin? What style of flour bin does your Coppes Napanee kitchen cabinet have? I’ll show several pictures of cabinets with different flour bins. The exact location of the smaller bins varied in the cabinets. Remember, Coppes likely purchased flour bins from a wholesaler. Other companies could have purchased the same flour bins.

1908 Flour Bin Style 1912 Flour Bin Style
Flour Bin 1908 Flour Bin 1912

1923 Flour Bin Style 1927 Flour Bin Style
Flour Bin 1923 Flour Bin 1927

1930 Flour Bin Style 1932 Flour Bin Style
Flour Bin 1930Flour Bin 1932

1938 Flour Bin Style
Flour Bin 1938

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Our collected list of Hoosier Cabinet manufacturers
1. Abernathy Furniture Co, Kansas City, MO
2. Ariel Cabinet Company – Peru, Indiana ”handyhelper”
3. Boone – Lebanon, Indiana
4. Chatham-Manson Campbell Co, Chatham, Ont 1900-
5. Culinart, Frankfort, Ind.
6. Dearborn Desk manufacturing Co, Marion, IN ( The Marion Cabinet Co.)
7. Diamond – Shelbyville, Indiana (C.F. Schmoe)
8. Elwell- Mineapolis, MN
9. Greencastle – Greencastle, Indiana
10. H. J. Scheirich, Louisville, KY
11. Hastings ?
12. Harris Brown Co , 1912
13. Hoosier Manufacturing Co. New Castle, Indiana
14. “HOPPER” Brand Kitchen Cabinet Cupboard, made in Sioux City, Iowa. (ebay item)
15. Ideal – Vincennes, Indiana
16. I-XL furniture Co (Goshen IN)-looks like Coppes parts
17. Kelly foundy and Machine, Goshen, IN
18. Keystone, Littlestown, PA
19. Landau Cabinet Co, St Louis, Mo
20. Mutschler family Manufacturing, Nappanee, IN
21. Kemper- Richmond, IN/Cincinnati, OH
22. Marsh – High Point, North Carolina (Marsh Furniture Company)
23. The Ohio State Stove & Mfg. Co., Columbus, Ohio ( Royal Ossco all steel kitchen cabinet )
24. Oxford- 1930’s, Oxford, PA
25. McClure. Marion, IN
26. McDougall – Frankfort, Indiana
27. Napanee – Nappanee, Indiana (Coppes, Zook & Mutschler) (Coppes Bros. & Zook) ( Coppes, INC.)
28. Scheirich, Louisville, Kentucky.
29. Sellers – Elwood, Indiana
30. Showers Brothers Furniture Co. – Bloomington, Indiana
31. Wilson – Grand Rapids, Michigan (sold by Sears)
32. Harris-Brown table co. kitchen cabinet
33. The Manson Cambell Company, Chatham, ONT.