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A look back at the Onion Festival Parade

Welcome to another Bill’s History Corner. I wish we could go back in time. If we could, one of the places I’d want to go to is the Nappanee Onion Festival. This picture was taken at one of the Onion festivals from 1908 to 1913. I don’t know which one of the Festivals this picture comes from, as there were several onion Festivals during this time period. Perhaps a study of the Nappanee News would give an indication of the exact date of this Parade.

Onion Festival

       The subject of this photo is the “C.Z.M. PARADE, NAPPANEE IND.” or the Coppes, Zook, & Mutschler log wagon Parade. I can see 7-8 wagons with full loads of logs being paraded through the mass of people. Each wagon has one man sitting on the top log driving the horses, while other men are riding. Another picture we have in the collection (may be the same festival) has parade wagons loaded with furniture made at the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler factories. Hope you can get a good look at this photo because there is a huge amount of detail going on in this picture.

       As usual, I have lots of questions and a few observations. My first question is how in the world did they load those big logs onto the wagons? This was an age before machines like the skid steer. It would have been a massive amount of work to construct ramps and roll each log on the wagon by hand. It seems that the standard dress for the men was coat and tie plus a hat. While women wore white, some with hats, some not. Wonder what time of the year this was. After the summer harvest?

You can see the upper floor of the Coppes Hotel over the top of the middle wagon. Near the intersection, where our post office is now, is the ramp of a Dare Devil that made a flying leap while sitting in a small padded box with wheels. Amusingly, the leap was successful every time. American flags and bunting adorn the building and wires. Wonder what the camera person was standing on and what kind of camera was used to get such a good clear picture. I also wonder if any of the people in the front rows had their toes crushed under the wagon wheels. If you were there then, where would you be standing? I think that I would want to be looking out of one of the 2nd-floor windows of the Coppes Hotel.

Side Note with a Request for Help: 

We are looking for information on former 1950s Coppes employee  Earnest Masterson. Apparently Earnest supplemented his income by building electric guitars. Any help would be welcomed. Just email bill@coppescommons.com. Thank you!
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Coppes & Zook Demonstration Sales

Hello everyone, hope you had a pleasant holiday with family and friends. I know I ate too much, but that is over with and it is back to work. Today’s Bill’s History Corner incorporates some local history – if you consider South Bend and Elkhart local. I think that I have told you that Coppes and Zook Co. sold their Napanee Dutch Kitchenets through existing stores. Any store with enough floor space was fair game to host a Coppes Kitchenet sale. Coppes’ over-the-road salesmen were looking for areas that had families and a store with floor space. Coppes & Zook supplied almost everything else. They provided newspaper advertising copy for the stores to use as well as measuring cups or other items as favors to give to everyone that came to the store to just look at the Dutch Kitchenets. Coppes & Zook also provided tin signs that could be fastened to trees, and the 5 foot stand up Dutch Girl was sent to stores for additional advertising.  A salesman, familiar with the Dutch Kitchenet, was also sent to the store acting as an additional salesman during the 3-5-day sale of Dutch Kitchenets.

multiple dutch ladies

In the Coppes Commons Historical Collections we have letters sent back to Coppes & Zook from stores that had a sale of Coppes Dutch Kitchenets. Most of the letters have a central theme, which is, we are so pleased with the way the Kitchenet sale was handled that we want to have another sale of Dutch Kitchenets as soon as possible. Two of those letters are attached below. One from The Home Furniture Company of South Bend. Home Furniture held a Dutch Kitchenet sale in Nov. 1922, where they sold 50 cabinets in 5 selling days.

Home Furniture

The other letter is from the Chas. S. Drake Co. of Elkhart. The Drake Co. sold 52 Kitchenets in one day, and maybe could have sold additional cabinets if they had more on hand. Both letters point out how important the “Demonstrator” was to the success of the sale. The Home Furniture & The Chas Drake letters are but two of the many letters. Another letter from Steinkamp’s Furniture in Cincinnati, Ohio, informs us that during their January 1923 Kitchenet sale, which closed on Jan 31th (I guess the sale ran for the whole month), they sold 295 cabinets. Wow, that is at least 5 train car loads of cabinets.

drake letter

Add to this cabinet sales concept the additional plan of One Dollar Down, one Dollar a Week, which kept customers returning to the stores to purchase other merchandise. You can easily understand why stores all across the country were eager to have a Coppes Dutch Kitchenet Sale in their store.

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Some Winter Shopping with Hartman Brothers

We are looking at two “Hartman Brothers, receipts today. The Hartman Brothers (Jacob, John & Thomas) operated the largest “General Merchandise” store in Nappanee, located on the West side of South Main. The Hartman Brothers’ 3 story buildings are still standing.

south main postcard

They advertised that they were dealers in “Dry Goods, Clothing, Boots and shoes, Groceries and Queensware, Grain and Hay.” The Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. did a large amount of business with the Hartman Brothers. These two receipts, one dated Feb, 14, 1907, is for a large amount of grain that was likely used as horse feed. In 1907 the C, Z & M Co. had a dozen or more “teams” of horses that were used to haul logs to the sawmill. Also, Frank and John Coppes took pride in the “fancy teams of horses” that they still maintained, although they had automobiles by this date.  They kept horses because they liked having them.

hartman 1

The March 2nd, 1909 receipt is has more general merchandise items. Such as “lantern globes 2 @ .20. or on Feb 19th these lines _ “To 3 yds. Oil Cloth — .90 for Saw Mill- B. J. Miller”, possibly using the oilcloth to cover an open window opening in the winter.

hartman 2

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A Custom Flour Bin and the Height of Hoosier Production at Coppes

The flour bin was an important part of the Napanee Dutch Cabinet and many other brands as well. It is my feeling that Coppes purchased the tin ware they used from wholesalers, as did other cabinet makers, which is one reason many brands of kitchen cabinets are so much alike.

Harold Frank Coppes was granted a patent for a flour bin on November 28, 1916. Apparently, the company could not find a flour bin on the market that was correct for the latest cabinets designed by Coppes. Harold would have been 31 years old in 1916 and climbing the company management ladder. The main improvement stated by this patent was the ease with which the flour bin could be filled, as the flour bin pivoted out of the cabinet to expose the filling opening which could be closed by a locking cap.

patent drawing

The year 1916 was only 4 years after the partnership between the Mutschler Brothers; father and Son, Dan Zook and Harold Zook; and brothers John and Frank Coppes dissolved with the death Dan Zook. The Mutschler Brothers (Albert and Charles) went back to the old Nappanee Furniture Company buildings and continued producing furniture and kitchen cabinets. While the Coppes Brothers, John & Frank, along with Harold Zook began concentrating on the production of the popular kitchen cabinets that we now call the Dutch Kitchenet.

The first (Hoosier style) kitchen cabinet manufactured in Nappanee was made by and advertised in the sales catalog of the Nappanee Furniture Company in 1898. I feel that the Mutschler Brothers deserve the credit for the development of the kitchen cabinet in Nappanee. They were raised in a cabinetmaker’s household. Their father (George Mutschler) worked (after serving in the Civil War) as a cabinetmaker and it is easy to imagine the young brothers helping out in the shop and being exposed to furniture making at a young age.  If we give the early development of the kitchen cabinet in Nappanee to the Mutschler brothers, then John & Frank Coppes and Dan & Harold Zook deserve credit for pushing the production of the kitchen cabinet to a much higher level.

From the few Coppes business ledgers we have in the collection, I feel the 1920s were the peak years of Dutch Kitchenet production. Our records show that in 1924 the Coppes & Zook company produced and sold over 24,000 cabinets. Do the math. If the company worked 6 days a week, how many cabinets were made each day, every day, all year long? John and Frank Coppes along with Harold Zook ran the company that did that, along with operating the flour mill on South Main St. and the sawmill with the retail and wholesale lumber business. I stand I awe of what these men did for the town of Nappanee

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Our Latest Hoosier Acquisition and Rare Photo

I put in a lot of road miles this morning. I went to Chicago and came back with a prize. The prize is in the form of a Sellers Kitchen Cabinet. This cabinet was generously donated to the Coppes Commons Kitchen Cabinet Museum by Peter & Denise (Ogdon) Dellva, Glenview, IL. It is Denise’s Grandmother (Elizabeth Rose (McDonald) Ogdon) in the photo shown below as she is working at her Sellers Cabinet in 1943 (see calendar on wall).

Old Photo

 I know, I know, before I get a lot of flak along the lines of, we only made the Napanee line of kitchen cabinets in the Coppes Commons buildings, so they are more important. Let me explain how rare a picture like this is. It’s the only one like it that we have. I have seen a few, but they look staged for an advertising shot. A picture from 1943 showing the cabinet that we now have in the collection is great. Displaying the cabinet along with the photo will make a more interesting experience for any Museum visitor. We are, after all, a Kitchen Cabinet Museum, not just a Coppes-only Cabinet Museum! Here is a photo of the cabinet today.

sellers

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Antique Clamps and Receipt Found in Factory

For today’s Bill’s History Corner, I found something that interests me. Old tools are very dear to my heart. I found a receipt dated Feb 8, 1908, when the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. purchased 5 Doz. number 2 size hand screw clamps from the ADJUSTABLE CLAMP CO. of Chicago. The original price was $37.50 but the company was given a discount of 2 % which equals $.75, to make the total cost $36.75. Looks like the freight cost was $.38.  These clamps were the JORGENSEN PATENT WOOD CLAMP style of hand screw clamps, a style that has been favored by woodworkers everywhere. A company note on the receipt indicated that ½ of the clamps were intended for Factory “A” and the other half for Factory “B”.

In 2018, these clamps are still being used in the Coppes Napanee custom kitchen factory. There is almost no way of knowing if the clamps we find in the factory today are the original ones purchased in 1908, because the style of the clamp has changed very little. One interesting sidebar is the clamp pictured below with an original size Jorgensen clamp. This longer clamp likely was broken during use, and someone in the company (maybe a maintenance man) decided the clamp could be repaired and made usable again. And that they did by putting new longer wood jaws on the original screws. This clamp was found on a shelf of tools in the factory about a month ago.

clamps

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Recorded List of Hoosier Cabinet Manufacturers Grows

I found something that is really interesting to me. Maybe to you also. It seems that Google Books has scanned and made available on the internet, books on many subjects (I don’t know how many, search Google Books for a subject that interests you on your computer). I found 5-6 on early furniture companies that also had advertisements from kitchen cabinet manufactures. From the beginning of the Kitchen Cabinet Museum here at Coppes Commons people have wanted to know how many companies made the kitchen cabinets called “Hoosiers”. To that end I have been recording newly discovered companies on to my “List of Hoosier Cabinet Manufactures” which I intend to share with you in today’s History Corner. But first, I need to make a disclaimer. Almost all the companies on my list are there because I personally have seen a likeness of a cabinet that can easily be named a “Hoosier” cabinet. I look for names of Hoosier cabinets manufactures everywhere. Some companies are from eBay listings, some from cabinets in antique stores, magazines & newspaper advertisements, and then Google Books advertisements.

I was looking at the Google Books, St. Louis Furniture Journals for the years 1924-25-26 and found several new (new to me) cabinet company advertisements. I also looked at the 1917 & 1921 The Furniture Worker and found some more. I’m beginning to think that a lot of furniture manufacturing companies during the heyday of the Hoosier cabinet fad tried their hand at making a version of a Hoosier style kitchen cabinet.

Here are three advertisements for kitchen cabinet manufacturing companies that I recently found. I used these three Advertisements because they are all close to Northern Indiana, and I did not know of them until recently.

hoosier ad 1

kitchen cabinet ad #2

Elwell Hoosier Cabinet

This is turning into a long Bill’s History Corner. Next, this is my current (as of Oct. 28, 18) list of Hoosier cabinet Manufactures. This list contains some of my notes also. I’m sure the list will grow larger as more companies are discovered.

 

Our collected list of Hoosier Cabinet manufacturers as of Oct. 28, 2018.

Disclaimer-Names of MFG. were found in many places, eBay listings, Cabinets in Antique Stores, Advertisements in Magazines, Trade Journals, Etc. In most cases, I actually looked at a likeness of a cabinet or an actual kitchen cabinet that was constructed in the style of Hoosier Cabinets. A cabinet that is free-standing, with top and bottom parts and a work surface and large amounts of storage. Some listings contain my notes.

 

Abernathy Furniture Co, Kansas City, MO

Ariel Cabinet Company – Peru, Indiana ”handyhelper”

Baines, Mosier Company, Allegan, MICH. Pic. In file

Biederman Mfg. Co.  Spencerville, Ohio (2 roll-ups)

Boone Kitchen Cabinet – Campbell-Smith-Ritchie Co. – Lebanon, Indian

Chatham-Manson Campbell Co, Chatham, Ont 1900-

Culinart, Frankfort, Ind.

Dearborn Desk Manufacturing Co, Marion, IN (The Marion Cabinet Co.), have cabinet

Diamond Kitchen Cabinets – Shelbyville, Ind. The C.F. Schmoe Furniture Co. (have advertisement)

“Domestic Science” Built in Kitchen Units. McDougall Co.  Frankfort, Ind.

“Dulin” Anderson-Dulin Varnell Co. Knoxville, KY. 3 different cabinets Mfg. by Coppes for Dulin

Easiwork Kitchen Cabinet, 242 Tottenham Court Road. LONDON, W. 1. (eBay listing)

Elwell- Minneapolis, MN Have pic. In adv. file

Greencastle – Greencastle Cabinet Co., Greencastle, Indiana

H J Scheirich, Louisville, KY, and Scheirich, Louisville, Kentucky.

Hartman’s white beauty Comfort Kitchen Cabinet No location, printed tin sign.

Hastings, Hastings Cabinet Company, Hastings, Michigan

Harris – Brown table Co, Greenwood, Miss — Patented item? Sept 9, 1912

Hoosier Manufacturing Co.  New Castle, Indiana

“HOPPER” Brand Kitchen Cabinet Cupboard, made in Sioux City, Iowa. (ebay item)

Hygena, Liverpool, England. 1930s Ebay item

Ideal – Vincennes, Indiana Ideal, Vincennes Furniture Manufacturers, Vincennes Indiana

I-XL furniture Co (Goshen IN)-looks like Coppes parts 

Kelly foundry and Machine, Goshen, IN

Kemp   Levenworth KS     listing on ebay

Keystone, Littlestown, PA Example with clock

“Kitchen Maid” Wasmuth-Endicott, Andrews, IND. (ebay cabinet listing)

KLANKE Furniture co.  New Bremen, Ohio

Kuchins Furn. Mfg. Co., St. Louis, MO “3 K Kitchen Cabinet, Keep, Kitchen, Kleen” Pics.

Landau Cabinet Co, St Louis, Mo

Mutschler Bros. Manufacturing, Nappanee, IN

Kemper Brothers, Founded in Feb 9, 1926 – Richmond, IN/Cincinnati, OH. —-

—-   Subsidiary of Masterbrand Cabinets, Jasper, IN.    2017, Still in business.

Marsh – High Point, North Carolina (Marsh Furniture Company) (have adv.)

The Ohio State Stove & Mfg. Co., Columbus, Ohio (Royal Ossco all steel kitchen cabinet)

John Thomas, “Manufacture of Kitchen Cabinets, Galveston, Indiana” we have cabinet.

Oxford- 1930’s, Oxford, PA

McClure. Marion, IN

McDougall – Frankfort, Indiana

MONARCH   ???????? & CABINETS  (from label on cabinet)

Napanee – Nappanee, IN (Coppes, Zook & Mutschler) (Coppes Bros. & Zook) (Coppes, INC.)

Red Wing Cabinet Co.  Red Wing, Minn.    eBay listing

Sellers – Elwood, Indiana

Showers Brothers Furniture Co. – Bloomington, Indiana

The Tippycanoe,  “THE TIPP BLDG. & MFG. CO. Tippycanoe City, Ohio. “Tippycanoe Kitchen Cabinets, ‘None Better”  (Ebay item, pics in file)

Wilson – Grand Rapids, Michigan (sold by Sears)

Harris-Brown table co.  kitchen cabinet

The Manson Cambell Company, Chatham, ONT.

White Barton Cabinet Company, ???

Galax Furniture & Lumber Co. Galax, VA. “MFRS. of Kitchen Cabinets, Bed Room Suites & Chiffoniers.”- — Have photo of cabinet @ Antique Mall in Port Shelton, MI

Springfield Model Kitchen Cabinet, Springfield Furniture Co., Springfield, MO

“Perfection” Colonial Cabinet Co. 2616 N. 15th St. St. Louis, MO.  Ad. in 1915 St. Louis Furniture News

“The Helpmate Cabinet” Little Rock Furniture Manu. Co.  Little Rock, ARK.

“Justrite Cupboards & Kitchen Cabinets”,  Indiana Furniture Company, Evansville, IN  Ad in June 1915 ———St. Louis Furniture News

Mother Hubbard’s New Cupboards, The Cardinal Cabinet Co. Wabash, IN.  P. 52 June ‘15 St. Louis —  ——–Furniture News

Joering and Pelchmann Co.   St Louis, MO ad on page 39, July 1915, St Louis Furniture News

Crawford-Bunch Furniture Co. Statesville, NC.  Ad on P. 48 Sept, 1915 St. Louis Furniture News.

Campbell, Smith & Ritchie.  Lebanon, Ad in 1905 Furniture journal

McAnsh, Dwyer & Co. Chicago, IL. Ad in 1905 Furniture Journal

  1. C. Niemann & Co. Rockwell St. Chicago, IL Ad in 1905 Furniture Journal

Kompass & Stoll Co. Niles, MI.    Ad in 1905 furniture Journal

The Ranney Refrigerator Company, Greenville, Mich.   Ad in 1905 Furniture Journal. P 154

Globe-Bosse-World Furniture Co. “Kitchen Cabinets”.  P. 274, The Furniture Worker Vol. 38, 1921

Lambeth Furniture Co. Thomasville, N.C.  “kitchen cabinets” The Furniture Worker Vol. 38, 1921

Leo Kahn Furniture Co. Menphis, Tenn. “Kitchen Cabinets” The Furniture Worker Vol. 38, 1921

“National” Cabinet, The National Screen & Manu. Co. Cincinnati, OH. The Furniture Worker Vol. 38, ‘21

Kitchen Cabinet TINWARE, McCormick Bros. Co. Albany, Ind. P.65 The Furniture Worker Vol. 38, ‘21

Acme Kitchen Furniture Co. Chattanooga, Tenn.  Ad. Nov. 1917 Furniture Worker

Falcon manufacturing Co. Big Rapids, Mich.  Ad. 1918 Grand Rapids furniture Record

King Mantel & Furniture Co. Knoxville, Tenn.   Ad. 1921 Grand Rapids Furniture Record

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A Walk Down Main Street’s Past

For this week’s History Corner, we are looking at three early pictures of South Main Street. The first photo is dated 1915. The street had been paved with brick just five years earlier in 1909-10. The first block between Market St. and Lincoln St. was filled with businesses. There were two banks, Hartman’s department store, and drug stores, etc. The block was full of buildings, several having second-floor offices above the 1st-floor business. At the Southeast Corner of Lincoln St. and S. Main was the Nappanee Carriage Company building, an imposing 3-story brick building with the city water tower and power station behind. On South are a grain mill and the railroad tracks.

water tower

The long building shadows that show up on the street tells me this picture was taken late in the afternoon when there was very little traffic on the street. I only see one horse and wagon with a load of what looks like grain. Also notice the window awnings on most of the east side buildings. It appears that there are trees with leaves in the background so this may have been during the summer or early fall months. Do you see the thing that looks like a gas pump? Well that is what it is.

Photograph number two doesn’t look like the same street. So many buggies, wagons, sledges, hardly a parking place left. Looks really cold with ice on the streets and people in heavy coats. Were the people in town for Christmas shopping or was this a typical busy Winter Saturday? Wouldn’t it have been great if someone had written the date on this picture?

main street nappanee

 

Photograph number three is labeled ONION DAY NAPPANEE. This is also South Main Street, south of Lincoln Street, see the train cars in the distance. For those of you that don’t remember, early Nappanee agriculture involved growing lots and lots of vegetables. The Nappanee Produce Co. is the building on the left side of the picture. Seems the soil around Nappanee was great for growing vegetables. To help celebrate the prosperity that Nappanee was experiencing Nappanee held a festival/carnival that was called ONION DAYS. Onion days happened for several years, approx. from 1909 to 1913. We do not know which year this picture was taken. Look at the people, Ladies and young girls decked out in white dresses, most of the men in shirtsleeves some with coats. Wonder which Month of the year it was? Looks like we could say a “good time was had by all”.

people on Main

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Young & Widmoyer of Nappanee, IN

I’m guessing that most of today’s readers have never heard of this Nappanee Business. I know that I didn’t before we found this piece of paper. The YOUNG & WIDMOYER, DEALERS IN Fresh and Salted Meats, Sausages, Etc. was a butchering concern, supplying fresh and salted meats to the citizens of Nappanee.

tallow receipt

On Nov. 8th the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. purchased “Tallow for Fcty (factory) a @ $1.25”.

This receipt does not tell the amount of “Tallow” in this purchase, but my guess is a large amount, an amount as large as a barrel full of “Tallow”. My Dictionary says that tallow is animal fat, the hard-white fat rendered (to extract by heating), usually from cattle or sheep tissues and used especially in soap or lubricants.

I doubt that C, Z & M Co. was making soap, so using the tallow for a Lubricant is the logical conclusion. Line shaft bearings and machine bearings are some of the possible uses for tallow.

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Coppes Bros. 1884 Logging Patent

In 1884, the Coppes Bros. sawmill was going full blast. Thousands of logs were brought to the mill location every year, either by train car or if more local by horse and wagon. Loading the logs onto the Coppes log wagons is the subject of this US Patent by John D. Coppes. This US Patent dated June 3, 1884 and given Patent Number 299,746, is short and concise, describing how the “SKID HOLDER” is intended to work. Basically the “SKID HOLDER” is part of a ramp that is connected to the wagon bolster and leaning against the top of the wheel that will facilitate the rolling of logs on to the wagon. This metal “SKID HOLDER” holds the wooden ramp/skid in position so the heavy logs will not fall if the ramp slips and falls to the ground possibly injuring a worker.

patent drawing

How many wagons the Coppes Bros had and used for hauling logs to the mill in the 1880’s is anyone’s guess. We have ledgers from this time period, but so far, we have not deciphered the exact jobs the many employees had. We do know and can say with confidence that the Coppes Bros Co. had horse and wagon teams at the sawmill (just don’t know how many) and also during busy periods advertised in the Nappanee News to hire outside drivers to use their teams and wagons to haul logs to the mill.

How did they actually load logs on a wagon?

We need to imagine what it would take to load a wagon with logs. First, the process needs to be portable, the forest or woods where the logs were cut was never at the same place. These “SKID HOLDER” ramps could be transported from location to location. If there were a relatively small number of logs to be loaded at one location, the “SKID HOLDER” system would work well. If another location had a huge number of logs it may be to their advantage to construct a temporary loading platform at that location. Remember this was the 1880s, and logs were moved by muscle force from either man or horse. Rolling a heavy log up the “SKID HOLDER “ramp onto a wagon bed would take a team of men working closely together. Each man had a hook tool that grabbed on to the log and allowed the men to roll the log with greater leverage.  I can’t imagine how they loaded logs two or three high on one wagon. I’m thinking of the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler log parades that were part on the Onion Festivals in the years 1908-1912.

We have pictures of wagons that were loaded three high with big logs with the driver sitting on the top log. . .  But that needs to be the subject on a future History Corner. Stay tuned.

Using Google Patents

Searching for a patent is so much easier now with the Internet. We used to have to go to regional libraries and search through patent books in hopes of discovering a patent. Then we would write to the actual Washington D. C. patent office and request the correct paper forms to order copies of any patent (also paying for them). It was a long process. I use a computer program called Goggle Patents. With it I can search the entire US patent office records. By typing in a couple items that I know in the search line, the Google Patents program will search for patents with those actual words. For example, if I have an item that has a name and the patent date on it, I’ll list the name and date in the search line and strike the enter key. If I’m lucky there will only be a few hundred patents for me to search through. The more information and the more accurate information you can enter into the search line the better off you will be. Go ahead and try it – open the google program on your computer and type in the words Nappanee patent. You will be surprised how many patents were issued to people from Nappanee.

As a side bar, John Coppes assigned one half of this Patent to his brother Frank. The witnesses that signed the text portion were Conrad D. Volknann (was Volknann the early spelling, then changed later to Volkman (Conrad was the first person to purchase a building lot in Nappanee and a blacksmith in the 1880s, he likely made the SKID HOLDERS) also William F. Peddycord (then, Nappanee’s postmaster).