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1880 Receipt for a Steam Boiler

Here is another interesting receipt from our treasury of old Coppes paper items. On March 24th, 1880, the sawmill of J. C. Mellinger and Company of Nappanee Ind. ordered one steam Boiler from the Chicago company of “ROCHESTER MACHINERY M’FG CO., Dealers in PORTABLE & STATIONARY ENGINES AND SAWMILLS, wood and iron working machinery, saws, belting. Etc.”

steam boiler receipt

The description of the boiler is “one 35 horse power # 7 stationary tubular boiler with 2nd hand [?????] with fixtures complete with stack  –  including 1 – #15 Jasperator (sp) fitted to boiler. Also 1 Smoke Stack 40ft X22” + guy rods.” 

This package was priced at $688.00. The company received a $25.00 discount for paying in cash. At the sale, the company paid $363.00 in cash, with a 4-month “note” for the remaining $300.00.

Note at the bottom of the receipt is marked “Paid” and signed by H. C. Wormer Treasure & Manager.

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YouTube Video of the Week

This week’s Bill’s History Corner is a two for one event. I’m going to talk about two things at the same time. People often think I’m talking about several things at the same time, so this should be easy. First, I want to point you to the big world on the internet. You tube.com is one of those fantastic items. I’m amazed at the variety of YouTube videos. Some good, some very very bad.  Especially when you think “what was the person thinking when they did this”?

I want you to do a YouTube search. Go to the YouTube.com site, then type the words “It happened in the kitchen” in the search line. I’m sure you will get a lot of junk, but the “It happened in the kitchen” is an interesting 5-part series of kitchens in the 1950’s. I have no idea what else you will get to look at, but it might be interesting to you. Every time I do this, I get a different result. Good luck.  You can also cut and paste this line into the search box: 1940s-50s popular science kitchen of the future part 1 – 5

The D. Ricket Store, Nappanee

The other item I want to expound upon this week is the D. RICKET store, Dealer in General Merchandise located in Nappanee. I must admit this is the first time I have heard of the D. Ricket store. We found approx. a dozen receipts from D. Ricket in the latest box of Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. papers that we were looking through. There is not a street address. The years that these receipts cover is from 1899 through 1902.

The Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. and then the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. purchased large quantities of OIL from the D. Rickert store. For example, in Oct. of 1900, one receipt shows that the company purchased quantities of OIL in 3-gallon lots seven different times during the month. It has no mention of the type of oil, but the price was $.12 per gallon. I assume this oil was lubricating oil for the machinery.

One receipt has a mystery attached to it. On July 16th, 1902, the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. purchased “131 ¼ (pounds) Bbl Flour – 16.40”. Why would a company that owns and is operating their own flour mill need to purchase a barrel of flour from a general merchandise store? If you know the answer to that mystery, please let us know.

Like most of the Nappanee stores that did business with the Coppes Family of businesses, the stores would run a tab and not expect payment with each purchase.  What they would do is record the purchase on a running receipt and then turn the receipt in at the end of the month for payment. This meant that most any Coppes employee or Coppes family member could be sent to the store when an item was wanted. They would pick it up and say to the clerk, “Just charge it to the Coppes account.”

Frank Coppes purchased food items from D. Rickert, but more likely his children or Mrs. Coppes would be the person to pick up the purchase. From May 29th, 1899, till July 1st, 1899, Frank Coppes ran up an account totaling $13.51. Big spenders, weren’t they?  Some examples of their wild spending are on May 29th when they purchased BERRIES for .16. On June 5th they purchased ROLLED OATS for .10, and bread may have been .05 cents a loaf, because they purchased bread two different times for .05 and .10. For a complete listing of the purchases that were made see the scan below.

Another puzzle with these D. Rickert receipts is that each one has a hole near the center. This stumped me until I saw that one of the receipts had extra small printing under the company name. The extra printing said “M’f’d under Pat. No. 341,960  The Sample Account File Co., Fremont,”. Here is the patent drawing for that Patent.  See the scan below, as it explains the hole in the center of each receipt.

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Do You Recognize this Happy Homemaker?

Hello, and welcome to Bill’s History Corner. This week I want to tell you about a new picture we recently acquired. The photo is of a Mutschler Bros. kitchen display at the Merchandise Mart, Chicago on May 11th, 1952.

homemaker

The model pointing out the great things that make up a Mutschler Kitchen is Ms. Pam Martin.  (Do you know who this is?) The display is part of a cooperative promotion undertaken by Mutschler Bros. and Chambers Corporation, Shelbyville, Ind. The Chambers Corporation supplied the “Drop–In” gas cooking top and the Chamber’s “In-A-Wall” gas oven, working in conjunction with the Mutschler Bros. Company who supplies the “Portabuilt” kitchen cabinets.

As we know from other records, the Coppes Inc. kitchen factory also displayed at the Merchandise Mart, along with most all major furniture manufactures in the Unites States and Canada.

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The Mystery of Carrie Birhl and the 115 lb. Ham

Hello and welcome to Bill’s History Corner, where we discuss all things Coppes. This week we are still looking at receipts from the treasure trove of company records. Sometimes we find things that make us scratch our heads and sometimes we find things that make us smile. This is one of those smile items.

I love it when we find personal items; when Frank, John, Albert, Daniel, or Charles did something that is not related to company business. For example, when Dan Zook wanted a speedometer for his fancy new car, he went to Kauffman’s in Nappanee; or if Frank wanted a new suite of clothing, where did he go to purchase it?

The receipts we found this week are for HAMS – yes, the kind of tasty hams that grow on pigs. It seems that the Coppes personelle liked ham. So far, we found ten receipts from the H. H. MYER Co. of Cincinnati, OHIO. H. H. Myers Co. is/was a meatpacking house. PARTRIDGE BRAND is the brand name of their line of products. Here is a postcard picture of the H. H. MYER Co.

The  1st receipt I want to show you, dated 8-31-1911, is addressed to Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. Nappanee, Ind. and is for 9 CANV 12 # (pounds) hams at a cost of $18.90.  I assume that is canned hams. We also have the B & O train freight receipt for this shipment which weighed 115 pounds. That’s a lot of ham. Were they planning a company party? Possibly a company picnic? Were they giving a ham to retirees?  Inquiring minds want to know.

The 2nd receipt I want to show is dated 9-15-1910 and addressed to C,Z & M Co. in, SYRACUSE, IND.  This order was for six “Burlap Partridge Hams” and one “Burlap Select Partridge Wide Bacon” at a cost of $16.25. This shipping crate weighed in at 100 pounds, as you can read on the B. & O. RR freight receipt. I’m thinking that the six Burlap Partridge Hams was a kind of smoked ham that did not need refrigeration.

If the Syracuse address is confusing you it is because of PICKWICK PARK on the lake. Several of the influential families of Nappanee, Including Frank, John & Daniel, had summer houses on the lake in Pickwick Park in Syracuse. So, this order was sent directly to Syracuse. How it was divided is unclear.

The 3rd receipt I want to show is like the others, this one is for 5 -12-pound HAMS. But someone has written on the receipt “Please pay this will find out how to divide”. This receipt is also addressed to C, Z & M Co. and at the SYRACUSE address.

The last Part of this story is this piece of paper. Sorry, it does not have a date and I cannot find a direct connection to any one of the H. H. MYER  receipts. So, there must be more order receipts somewhere. At first this paper looks like a bunch of jumbled up writing, but when connected with the receipts for hams from the H. H. Myer Co. it makes better sense.  

At some point, the company must have ordered 10 large hams and divided them between these 8 people. Carrie Birhl got 1- 11 1/2 # ham at a cost of $2.12, less .05 which was the share of the cost of freight. Who was Carrie Birhl? How was she connected to the company?

The other hams were divided among Irwin Coppes, J. D. Coppes, Frank Coppes, C. Mutschler, D. Zook, Marvin Coppes, and A. Mutschler. It appears that Frank Coppes got 3 hams, 2 @ 12 ½ # and one @ 10 ½ #. He also paid for that larger share or at least was charged for a larger amount. 

All this begs the question, what was the reason they purchased hams from a Cincinnati company instead of purchasing locally? Surely there were local butchers that could provide fresh meats, or was the purpose to purchase preserved meats that would not need refrigeration? As I said inquiring minds want to know. Boy, that is a lot of HAMS. I’m getting hungry for a nice ham sandwich. Thanks, be sure to come back next week, maybe we will find they purchased eggs from Cleveland. That was a joke. Hope it made you smile.

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Coppes Commons – the Amazing Before & After Pictures That Reveal Just Part of Our Transformation

Welcome to Bill’s History Corner. I think you will be amazed at these pictures. It is so easy to forget what the buildings looked like when the demolition was started. I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. With the first pair of before and after pictures the camera is positioned on Lincoln St looking East. The camera is just to the West of what is now the Right Angle Steel building. You can see the corner of the building at the same position in each photo. Originally this was part of the Coppes Inc. complex. Easy to forget that we could not drive through on Lincoln Street.

The second pair of before and after pictures are also of this same area but from the other side of the buildings and pointed the other direction. With these pictures, the camera is again on Lincoln Street, but we are now looking West. The demolition had started and soon Lincoln Street would be open for traffic. How many of you tried to drive through here before the street was paved and got stuck in the mud?

We have come a long way, Baby!

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C&Z Teamsters and Shively Bros. Horse Goods

Hello and welcome to this week’s History Corner. If you have been reading my History Corners you know that we have been looking at old Coppes, Zook & Mutschler or Coppes Bros, & Zook Co. receipts. We have a treasure trove of old paper in the form of business receipts from approx. 1895 -1915. We just started sifting through the boxes, so who knows what we will find! Stay tuned, as they say, when people want you to follow along.

“All Kinds of Horse Goods”

This week I’m talking about the Shively Bros. store of Nappanee, Indiana. Their different billheads advertise “HEAVY AND LIGHT HARNESS, HORSE FURNISHING GOODS,” also “manufacturers of HARNESS, And Dealers in ROBES, BLANKETS, -Whips and All Kinds of Horse Goods.” In other words, anything you may need or want for your horse. Around 1896 the Shively Brothers, John F. Shively and Ulery J. Shively took over the Shively and Rusher Company. (M. H. Shively & W. H. Rusher) That earlier company was “dealers in HARDWARE, STOVES, TINWARE, and BUILDERS SUPPLIES. TIN ROOFING A SPECIALTY.” In  Jan. 1896, the Shively & Rusher Co. repaired Daniel Zook’s roof at a cost of $.35.

The June 1905 Industrial Nappanee paper, which was printed in Nappanee by the Nappanee News, has a full-page article on the Shively Bros. Company. A picture of the storefront and an interior picture are reprinted here.

C&Z Teamsters and the Shively Bros.

Do you think the Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. and the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. would have a need to do business with the Shively Bros.? You can bet your bottom dollar they did. Not only did the principal members of the companies have their personal horse harness repaired and horses’ health cared for at the Shively Bros., we also have learned that the company’s teamsters shopped at the Shively Bros. store. Finding the names of the group of men that had to be the company teamsters made my week. The names of the men changed a little over the six years that we found receipts between the Coppes Companies and the Shively Bros. I’m going to list the names of the men below.

Store Credit

First I want to explain how I think the system worked. I think starting in 1898, each Teamster had charge of maintaining his team and wagon, looking after the horse’s well fair, keeping them in tip-top condition, for doing the hard work of pulling heavy wagons filled with logs to the sawmill. When a teamster needed a “harness repair” piece or “gall cure” for their horse, each teamster went to the Shively Bros. and completed the purchase without prior approval, charging the cost of the item to the company. The Shively Bros. recorded each transaction on the individual teamster’s record. At the end of each six months, the receipts were submitted and paid by the company. This way the company could tell which teamster was costing the company more money, possibly by being careless with his team and which teamster was more careful of his charge.

Teamsters Roster

Here are the names of the teamsters, sorry if I got the spelling wrong. They didn’t care about first names

Starting July 1st, 1898. Edger; Hampshier; Hoffer; Reed; Smith; Lopp; Swanner; Burns; Grover; (9 names)

Jan 1 – June 31, 1900. Lopp; W. Olinger; J. Alinger; I. Swanner; Hampshier; Holderman; Neely; Williams; Gise; Ganes; Jackson; Smith; Reed. (13 names)

Dec. 1 – June 31, 1902. Lopp; Frank Smith; Swanner; Garrison; Waterman; Reed; Hampshier; Frenger;                       Peffly; Rupert; Miller. (11 names)

July 1st – Dec. 31, 1902. Scott Lopp; Ora Swanner; Chas. Reed; Jerls; Frenger; Ira Miller; J. Hampshier;      Rupert; Nixon; Joe Peffly; C. Neely (11 names)

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Early Sawmill Labor Force

This week we are looking at a picture titled Coppes “Employees, Nappanee.” There isn’t a date printed on or associated with this photo. But just look at those smiling faces, someone must have just said a joke or else they are so cold they want to get the picture over with as soon as possible.


I think these 36 men represent the Coppes Bros. & Zook sawmill crew and the company’s teamsters. Around 1899, there were as many as 13-15 teamsters bringing wagon loads of logs to the mill in Nappanee. The Coppes Teamsters worked almost like what we would call “independent contractors” today. Each man oversaw the maintenance of the wagon or sled they used and the care of the horses in their charge. And by care, I mean feeding and watering morning and night and brushing and bedding down each horse each night. They also took care of things like having horseshoes replaced when they are lost or worn down. The company stable was the brick building to the east of Coppes Commons next to the parking lots. This is where the horses were housed, cared for and looked after.


The building that these men are in front of has the shiplap siding that was used on the sawmill buildings. I think this building is the 2nd sawmill building that was located behind the Coppes Commons buildings, south of Lincoln St. The log storage yard for this sawmill was where the parking lots are now located. That’s my reasoning for this group of men being the sawmill workers.

During times when there was an abundance of logs, the sawmill was operated 24 hours a day. Other times it cut back the schedule as needed. When the sawmill was working will, I would think a single log may take approx. 10-15 minutes to be cut into boards. 


Realistically there needed to be three crews working in and around the sawmill. One crew would be operating the mill itself, controlling the machinery and setting the carriage for each new cut. Another crew would be charged with bringing logs to the staging area where they can easily be rolled onto the carriage. This crew would need to keep up with the saw operators. In a 10-hour work shift, this crew may need to drag/haul/ push/pull as many as 40-50 or more logs from the storage yards, all the while being careful not to have a log roll over them. The third crew is the men that remove the cut boards and stack them in the yards for air drying. No forklifts for this crew, every green and heavy board was moved by hand. 


Notice how some of the men are dressed. Some with gloves, some with wide-brimmed hats (keeps the sawdust off their heads) and heavy shoes. Almost all have their shirts buttoned up to their necks if not their coat also. Was it the cold or were they just trying to keep the sawdust out? Whatever, it was hard tiring work, but this was also the business that the Coppes family of companies was built upon. For that we sayTHANK YOU and extend our gratitude to all former employees of the Coppes family of companies.

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On This Day in History

On Aug. 22, 1906 (113 years ago today), J. D. Coppes ordered 1-gal. Ice Cream, which cost $1.00. Mr. Coppes purchased the Ice Cream “in account with” “GEORGE FREESE’S SONS, Wholesale Produce Dealers, Nappanee, Ind.”“In account with” meant the same thing as credit, or I’ll pay you later. Approximately 2 weeks later (Sept. 6th) this bill was sent to J. D. Coppes and paid for by the company, as verified by the PAID company stamp near the bottom. I hope they enjoyed the ice cream on a warm Aug. day.

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Better Find a Broom!

Here’s another interesting tidbit from the history of Coppes. This is a receipt from THE JOS. LAY CO. of Ridgeville, IN dated Aug, 28TH, 1905.

The Lay Co. manufactured “BROOMS and BRUSHES OF ALL KINDS.” This receipt is for 5 Doz. #4 rattan Mixed Brooms — $3.00/doz.  = $15.00. While hunting for new History Corner paper goods, I actually found ten receipts from THE JOS. LAY Co. from 1903 to 1908. The Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. placed at least 10 orders for brooms. A total of 564 brooms were ordered during this time period at a cost of $136.72. That is a lot of brooms, but then there were several buildings that made up the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. factory.

I have heard several old-time employees state that when the electricity went off or the factory work shut down for a machinery break down, you had better find a broom! If the bosses were around, you’d better be using it too, or the likely hood of you being sent home without pay would increase.

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Van Camp Hardware Flour Bins

Hello, Welcome to another issue of Bill’s History Corner. This is the place where we discuss all things about the Coppes factory. We will also try to answer questions that you have. With this week’s find, I think we can finally answer the question “where did the sheet metal flour bins and bread drawers come from?”

At least we have one example of the answer. As we are eager to do, because everything we find is a new discovery, we were searching through the boxes of old company receipts that somehow survived the various office moves and company cleanouts that former employees have told us about. I’m just speculating here, but I think several former employees at different times (and not necessarily acting together) stored or hid old factory records at various places in the factory so they would not be destroyed. I don’t know who these guys were, but we all owe them a big thanks for what they preserved.

Where the metal components of the Dutch Kitchenets came from has long been an unanswered question. For example, did the factory have its own sheet metal shop that made the parts that were needed? Flour bins and sifters, bread drawers, and various small shelf racks inside cabinet doors were some of the different metal parts needed to complete a Dutch Kitchenet. I can tell you as one that sorted through the trash in the factory that there were no scraps of sheet metal or broken tools that would have been used to make the sheet metal components. It has been my opinion that the factory didn’t make its own metal parts, but where did they come from? We can now answer that question with some certainly, but did the Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co. have an inhouse metal fabricating shop to build the parts or were they a middle man company?

The Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co., Indianapolis was one of the major providers. We found several receipts related to metal parts for Kitchenets. This batch of receipts is dated 1911 & 1912. The Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co. was huge. You can get an idea of the products and services they provided by studying the billhead. This time period in American history saw the development of several huge stores in Midwest cities, of which the Van Camp Company was one. I fully expect we will discover receipts from other hardware businesses as we keep digging into boxes of paper.

Let’s Look at the Receipts. . .

The first receipt I want to show is dated Jan. 26th, 1912.  This is for “1- SAMPLE BREAD BOX        XXX”. I think the XXX means that the Van Camp Company made one sample bread box at no charge, fully expecting a large order to follow. Someone has written on this receipt what must have been the estimated cost for each bread drawer at $.43c. The 2nd receipt is a follow-up order.

The receipt dated 8/12/12 is for   “2009 – BREAD BOXES     47 (each)    $944.23.”   There is additional information we can gather from this receipt. One example is this line, a discount for “Less FW (freight, ???)  $39.69, ” which means less by that amount of freight cost. However, there is also a B & O Rail freight receipt pinned to the back of this for “ 1 Car, Bread Boxes – $135.00”.  Seems like it took a full train car to ship the 2009 bread boxes. I don’t understand it. What was that discount for?  Also, C, Z & M Co. subtracted a 2% discount ($18.18) for prompt payment, even though it took  17 days to make the payment. Clearly, on the receipt, it states “TERMS, 2% for cash in 10 days”.  Wonder if this was standard practice with C, Z & M Co.: pay late, but also take the 2% discount for payment in 10 days, unless the company complains. Likely most companies would not complain for late payment. They may be happy just to get the payment.  There is an additional note indicating ½ of order sent/billed to C ( factory C, where they built kitchen cabinets) and ½ to B. I wonder what they made in factory B that used bread drawers.

The next two receipts go together, I think. They are also from Van Camp Hardware & Iron Co. and refer to “HOPPERS,”  which I think are the flour bins.

The first one dated June 5th, 11,  is for “1 – “9 ¼ X 9 7/8 HOPPER – 32 –32.”  Someone has written “Sample – for new cabt”. I feel for sure this is an example of the company ordering one sample to see if it will work. This sample cost $.32.  The 2nd receipt is for “500 – HOPPERS   –  32   –  160.00”.  On this receipt, someone has written “ small hopper for 1556 cabt” & also “C Purchase” meaning the order was going to building “C” and charged to the expenses of building “C”  where they were making the cabinet. The final picture I want to show you this week is a scan of a No. 1556 Coppes Cabinet. As you can see, the flour bin is mostly wooden with a funnel-shaped “HOPPER” and sifter at the bottom.  See ya right back here next week. Stay Cool.