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Demolition Photos From Early 2000’s

I love any demolition pictures. You know what they say, “a picture is worth a 1000 words,” so, I will not  be saying much. It is difficult to remember what a mess this place was, added on spaces to other added  on buildings. What a mess. I’ll bet there were several places where employees could hide for a couple  hours. 

Each of these four pictures is of the area at the rear of Coppes Commons where the quilt garden is now located. Doesn’t look the same does it?

In picture No. 1 you can see a couple employee cars (remember,  the factory never shut down). They are parked in the area where Lincoln St. is now located. What you  can discern from this picture is that the buildings look unused and abandoned with trees beginning to  grow next to the buildings. There are several items you can easily make out in this picture.

A single truck loading dock with blue colored cushions to  prevent cold air blowing in to the  buildings. (How old do you think the tree growing in front of the loading dock is?). 

Also, there are two saw dust bins.  One is at the right of the picture and a  much larger “silo” model at the left. That  big toy spinning top looking thing on the  top of the silo is called a “dust cyclone”.  The cyclone allows the dust to be  separated from the fast moving air by  having the heavier particles (sawdust) spin  around the larger inside diameter of the  bin and then fall into the silo while the  clean air is blown out the exit. Early on in  the history of the company, they burned  sawdust and scrap wood cutoffs in the  boilers.

Still located next to the two  original boilers is a machine referred to as  “the Hog” that ground up scrap wood and  blew it directly into the boilers to burn.  When the company ceased burning  sawdust has not been determined. As Coppes Historian, that information is  something I would like to know. My guess  is that the company stopped burning  sawdust when they switched from steam  engine powered line shaft machines to individual electric motors on the machines.

Individual electric  motors meant less need for steam from the boilers to power the steam engine, which powered the line  shafts, which turned the machines. Wow, talk about cause and effect. I want to be clear, burning scrap  wood cutoffs and burning sawdust is different. Scrap wood will burn “better,” making more heat than sawdust.

At this time (when this silo was built) in the factory’s production, they were making more  sawdust than they wanted or needed. Basically, by then, they only needed the boilers to heat the  buildings in the winter by sending steam in the heating pipes. What I’m trying to say is that they needed to store and then eliminate the sawdust, which is the reasons for the sawdust silos. I would hope they  sold it to area farmers as animal bedding, not landfill. 

Picture No. 2 shows the first layer of debris removed, exposing some of the smaller buildings that were  behind the trees in the first picture. The sawdust silo is still there, and I can’t be sure, but it looks as if  sawdust is spilling out of a gaping hole in the silo on the lower left side. Do you see the smaller BOBCAT  excavator near the base of the silo? Also, the elevator that was used to load trucks with sawdust. Is the  big excavator operator thinking “what do I want to attack next?”

Two reference points I want to point  out: the brick corner (right side) is the outside wall where we found the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler sign  painted on the bricks. On the lower left side is the cement colored corner of the coal bin (still there).  Coppes kept coal on hand in case of emergencies, or if they needed extra heat & power from the boilers. 

Picture No. 3 shows the inside corner of the back side of Coppes Commons almost as we know it today.  Looks like the demo team has brought in equipment to begin removing the large sawdust silo. This  picture gives it a larger scale than before. New windows and doors and the place will look like new. Well,  I guess there was a little brick work to repair. On the end of the white painted brick building, you can see  two of the fire doors that were throughout the old factory. These heavy doors were hung on an angled  track, when a fire got hot enough to melt the safety chain link the door would roll closed by the force of gravity, with the idea of stopping the spread of the fire. Each of these doors are made up of metal  covered hard wood and weigh several hundred pounds each. 

As it  looked like  last week.  Big  difference,  huh?

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Hallack-Deamer Carpet Co.

Welcome to this week’s history Corner. Thanks for checking in on me, and seriously, I need help understanding the receipts from this company. If you have been following this site for the past months, we have been digging into boxes of old company receipts from the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. Most of the paper is from around 1900 to 1910. I can picture a new office employee wondering what in the world they should do with the massive volumes of paper receipts generated during the daily business activities. Maybe they thought “I don’t want to bother my boss with this, I’ll just put these receipts in a box”. And boy, are we sure glad they did just that. A full box of paper would seem more valuable than just a couple sheets of paper, so they were stored and never thrown away. 

So, now in 2020, we are trying to make sense out of the paper that was left behind in the factory. As I read each piece of paper, most of it will make sense. Some of it I may need to think about it for a while, but it usually makes sense. This History Corner receipt I have thought long and hard about and am still stumped. Here is where I need your help. I hope someone out there may know what the reason was for the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. to purchase rugs and linoleum? Certainly, the company may have wanted rugs or linoleum for some of the offices, but the quantities in this receipt is staggering.

Dated Aug. 10, 1909, this receipt is from the Hallack–Deamer Carpet Co. Kansas City, MO.

I’ve listed the first items from this receipt with a small amount of editing to make it read better.

 #5011 -Amt.- 50 Dunlap Axminster Rugs   (size) 27X60   (price)$1.57 ½        (cost) = $78.75                                                                       

              Amt.- 15 Wool Art Squares     (size) 9X12 – 180 Sq. Yds. –  $.50 sq. yd.   =        $90.00

              Amt.- 50 Pro Brussels Squares  (size) 9X12 – 600 sq. yds. – $.50 sq. yd.  =       $300.00

              Register 46961 Henderson filler       107 yds.

              Register 46875 Henderson Filler   + 101 yds.                                                                                                                                                             

208 yds.            $22 ½                 =       $46.80

So, with the first 5-line items (115 rugs & padding ) the cost amounts to $436.80

The next group on this receipt is for 5 different kinds of “GRANITE” design linoleum, 644 yards @$122.36.     I’m almost sure I know what the linoleum was intended for, but the rugs, such a huge quantity.

Then more rugs, Smith-Axminster 6X9s          Qu   5        @  $10.00  ea.  =    $50.00

Then   –    Snyrna Rugs           30X60               Qu.   100         @ $1.40ea.   =$140.00

And   –   Dobson Velvet (?)       9 X 12         Qu   5                @ $14.55      = $72.75

Are you keeping up with this?  The top section of this one receipt is for (area??) 225 rugs, 100 of one type, 50 ea. of 2 others. Mostly smaller rugs, with one rug of 600 Square yards. What is going on? I can’t imagine what the purpose was for that many rugs and GRANITE pattern Linoleum.  Can you?

The rest (Bottom section) of this receipt is for different linoleums.  Apparently, the Carpet company had the skills and ability to inlay linoleum designs or patterns into a background piece of linoleum, this was designated as Cooks “A” or Cook’s “B”, or Scotch “B” Imp. Linoleum.  

1,942 Sq. yd. of linoleum was ordered.  That is enough for a 17,000 Sq. ft. building. Wow, that is huge.

OK, here is my idea. When the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. began making kitchen cabinets, the only method they knew of for making the work table portion of a kitchen cabinet was to construct it from clear straight grained (light in color) wood, with no covering. I imagine that they quickly learned this work surface did not wear well and soon became rough and impossible to keep clean. By experimentation they discovered that linoleum would work for covering the cabinet’s work surface relatively will. The period when linoleum was used is not set in stone, but generally the years 1907 thru 1909 were the linoleum years. Soon to follow was sheet zinc, then sheet aluminum (food safe???) followed by the porcelain tops we know so well. The actual dates when the company may have changed from one material to another most likely overlaps. Customers could possibly order the top with Linoleum or Zinc or Aluminum at the same time. Eventually the porcelain tops were developed and Coppes began using them exclusively. In Nappanee, the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. helped bring the Vitrious Company to town for the express purpose of making porcelain tops for the Dutch Kitchenets. In Indiana I have found references to several similar companies that supplids porcelain work surfaces to other kitchen cabinet manufacturers.

Well, that was my idea, and I was going to stick with it until more evidence surfaced. Guess what I found on the back of another piece of paper? I have told you of the Coppes’s incoming material inspection team. When these rugs and linoleum arrived at the factory the inspection team went to work counting each item and putting a check mark (one check for each item) On paper as they were counted to indicate how many of the items had arrived in good condition. The back side of the company inspection sheet has some names penciled in next to some of the items. The “office” was apparently going to receive two rolls of the linoleum. Other places were listed as “A Mutschler” 3 rolls; – “J. Nley” 2 rugs;  – “N. A. Leman” 49 ½ Yd Linoleum; –  “mens club” 2 rugs; –  “ACME Co.” Rugs & Linoleum ; –  “Office” 5 rolls linoleum and 3 rugs. Clearly some of the rugs and linoleum was intended to be used as floor coverings, but there was still a huge amount to be used for something else. I still think my idea may be correct, they were intending to use the linoleum from this shipment on the work surfaces of Dutch Kitchenets. What they were planning on for the rugs? Christmas gifts for employees? I told you I needed Help with this one. All answers & suggestions welcomed. I’ve scanned this receipt and the two railroad records below. Note the weight of this shipment at 9200 pounds.

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The Coppes Chimney

Hello, Welcome to this weeks Bill’s History Corner. Hope you are staying safe.

The WEBER CHIMNEY COMPANY from Chicago had the contract to build the chimneys at the Coppes Brothers & Zook factory and also at the flour mill. This contract between the Weber Company and the Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. is dated March 5, 1918, during the First World War.

This time period in the Coppes Bros. & Zook factory had to be one of great optimism. Kitchen cabinets were selling like hot cakes to the point where the factory was building new buildings, finding more employees, and purchasing more machines, all with the expectation that producing kitchen cabinets was going to be a very good and long-term business model.

If you are wondering where the chimney is, it was demolished during the building cleanup in approx. 2008. Like several of the factory buildings, it had become unsafe and was crumbling.

Remember, the partnership breakup of the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. occurred in 1912, and afterwards the Coppes Bros. & (Harold) Zook Co. decided to concentrate on one product line, that being kitchen cabinets along with operating the flour mill and the sawmill.

The previous company’s chimneys (at the Coppes factory and flour mill) were steel and made by the C. Volkman Company, and, according to the local Newspaper, were destroyed or damaged several times by severe storms. It seems likely that the Coppes management at that time (John & Frank Coppes & Harold Zook) were thinking they needed a better and more reliable Chimney for the increased output the factory was planning for. Maybe they were thinking they could not afford the down time another broken Chimney would cause. That is just speculation on my part, but it is interesting to speculate why the company would contract for two new chimneys during the middle of America’s involvement in the First World War. Why did they contract for the chimneys in that exact time period? Inquiring minds want to know. Maybe the local news papers had a story about it. I wish we had access to the Nappanee News Papers. As I understand it, the library is planning to digitize the old newspapers.


I scanned some more important pages of the 4-page contract for you to look at. The Weber Chimney Co. must have been a huge company with sales offices in 15 North American cities, plus Tokyo, Paris, Havana, and London, England. On the back page of the contract the company boasts of having built “the HIGHEST CHIMNEY in the world” in Japan. A chimney that was 570 feet tall (almost 2 football fields long), I don’t think I would want to work on the top of that.

The proposed chimney at the Coppes factory and flour mill were only going to be 83 feet and 6 inches high. Seems tiny compared to the one in Japan. The proposed price of this work was $1550.00 for each of the chimneys. The contract was signed by an Assistant Sales Manager from the Weber Co. and Frank Coppes, Pres. Of Coppes Bros. & Zook.

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Abington, MA

My Napanee Dutch Cabinet belonged to my aunt who lived on Nelson Street in Lynn Massachusetts.   I believe she purchased it new in the 20’s.    I think it’s around 1924-27 based on images and advertising.   It came pretty much intact, only missing the Sugar bowl (though the lid was still there!) , the salt bowl, the coffee canister, the bread drawer cover, and the bottom pull out tray.   The paper is still there for the cookbook and extract areas.   I love and still use the flour bin! It has been a delight of many children helping me bake.   The finish is original, and the original roll up front still works.  Minor damages to the porcelain.  It’s one of my favorite things in my home!

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North Carolina

My NAPANEE cabinet was originally white finish. It survived a house fire and the refinishers had to strip it. I’ve owned it since 1980 and I love it!!! I have 3 Hoosier cabinets and it is my favorite. I love the metal deep drawers with sliding covers. Could you date it’s manufacture ? 
Thanks for making functional and really great cabinets!!!

gail elkins