Welcome to another Bill’s History Corner. Did you ever get into a situation that you thought would end soon, but it did not? This is one of those situations. I was excited to find this information of the Coppes Inc. Company attempting to add washing machines to their product line. “This is strange and different,” I thought. “A kitchen cabinet company selling washing machines.” Does that sound strange to you?
In the late 1920s, the Coppes Bros & Zook Co. had a cabinet line designed for apartments. This line was promoted to new apartments, in buildings of all sizes, in any city. The company named this line “SPECIALLY DESIGNED UNIT SYSTEMS FOR ALL TYPES OF BUILDINGS.” Special catalogs were created too. This cabinet line was sold through the ‘BUILDERS DIVISION” of Coppes Bros. & Zook, Inc. Some of these kitchen cabinets had built-in refrigerators, (ice boxes).
Refrigerators and kitchen cabinets seem to go together. Washing machines and kitchen cabinets do not go together. I don’t get it. What was their thinking? Anyhow, the company seemed to go into the washing machine sales business in a large way. Having a dedicated over-the-road sales couple and advertising in a major department store is what I would say is a large attempt at selling washing machines.
I have a picture to show you and some advertising, at the end is where this History Corner takes an unexpected turn. Hang on.
I suppose they set up at County fairs and such. Or they could make personal appointments to show the Flex Washer. Life on the road, take your wife and job along.
L. S. Ayers was a huge department store chain with stores is major cities. Having this quality of store handling Coppes Washing Machines was a major coupe is the sales world. How many washers were sold and how long the connection lasted I do not know. These three newspaper advertisements were the only ones I could find. Some of the advertising pictured the washing machines that were wrapped in white porcelain, which looked much better, while at the same time period some machines were still in the black paint.
The 3rd advertisement is where this History Corner takes a turn in a different direction. The ad. is still promoting the Coppes Washing machine, but also in small print at the bottom is something else related to the Coppes Company.
Besides the Coppes Washing machine on sale for 454.98, this ad says “COPPES-NAPANEE Built-In KITCHEN ENSEMBLE Factory List Price………..112.90
Anniversary Sale Priced 69.50
7 – Ft. straight – line Kitchen of fine Quality, Coppes – Napanee construction. Includes 2 wall cupboards and all bases. Does not include sink, work top or instlation. All fine kiln dried hardwoods.
Tongue and groove construction. Choice of 18 colors, 5 of bakalike [bakelite] hardware.
8Ft Kitchen, List Price 143.80 —— 79.50
9ft Kitchen, list Price 159.15 —— 89.50
This Newspaper advertisement is one of the first, if not the very first one, to promote the newer style of kitchens being developed by Coppes – Napanee. Coppes was still producing and selling the Dutch Kitchenet cabinet style in 1939 but were looking to keep up with the market place. The newer style kitchen was catching on fast with the American family. Keeping up with the marketplace may have been the reason for the washing machines added to the product line. I think we all know what became of the company as they began developing the newer “straight line” kitchens.
Here is the Coppes, Inc. choice of colors chart, made available in the late 30s. Which is your favorite?