Good day, and welcome to Bill’s History Corner at Coppes Commons. This is the spot where I discuss topics related to the company that made the Napanee Dutch Kitchenet.
As you are aware, the company changed its name as personnel joined and left the company. The first name we were aware of was Mellinger & Co. This was John Mellinger, who was operating a sawmill in Nappanee (1875) along with the young Coppes brothers, John & Frank. John & Frank were the “& Co.” of Mellinger & Co. John Mellinger was the Coppes’s brother-in-law, having married older sister, Lucinda. In approx. 1880, another brother (Samuel) joined the two brothers after they bought out Mellinger’s share of the sawmill. This new company was named Coppes Brothers Co. In 1890, Samuel left, Dan Zook joined the company, and the name changed to Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. In 1902, the company had a major change: Coppes Bros. & Zook combined with Albert & Charles Mutschler at the Nappanee Furniture Co. to become the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. This company lasted till Dan Zook died in November of 1912, so we have another name change. Now the name is Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. (same as it was), but it is Harold Zook (Dan’s son) who was a company director now. This name lasted till 1936, when the company was incorporated, and the name was shortened to Coppes Inc. By this time, the 2nd generation of Coppes Men were running the factory.
During these years (62), you can imagine the changes that the people in the company were witness to. Not only the growth of the company but small everyday fractures, the telephone, transportation, even the pencil sharpener, which brings me to the subject of this History Corner.
We found a Receipt from the OLCOTT MFG. CO. makers of the CLIMAX PENCIL SHARPENER. Apparently, the company already had a Climax pencil sharpener. This receipt is for the return of a worn or dull sharpener blade. You were to return the worn blade with $.50 cents for the exchange of a sharpened blade. Then you were good to go. I found a picture of a Climax pencil sharpener on the web from these years. I love the little drawer to catch the pencil shavings.
I wonder how the company learned of this type of pencil sharpener. Did an office supply salesmen come to the factory and convince them to try the Climax sharpener? Did they see an advertisement in a paper and send off to the Olcott Mfg. company to try one out?
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