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Elvis Couldn’t Wait, Kennedy Too Late

Virtual Tour of Nappanee Kitchen Homes

Good day, welcome to this week’s Bill’s History Corner. Hope you are safe and in good health. Here is something for you to do while you are passing the days/weeks/months till we can feel safe going about with our daily routines.  The Nappanee Public Library is responsible for THIS VIRTUAL TOUR of Nappanee’s Historic District and the houses that are associated with the kitchen cabinet industry in Nappanee. I first learned of this virtual tour with a notice in my weekly email newsletter from INDIANA LANDMARKS.

Indiana Landmarks

Indiana Landmarks is a fantastic group; besides monitoring all kinds of historic sites, they help fund restoration projects all over the state, from covered bridges to the “CENTURY OF PROGRESS” houses that were at the 1933 world’s fair in Chicago. Remember, I wrote about this before, one of the houses had a Coppes Kitchen installed when it was on display at the 1933 fair. Those houses were moved to Indiana, and you can find more information with a google search.

Missing Pieces

On a different topic, we here at Coppes Commons are always hunting for information that will help round out and fill in the gaps in the known history of the Coppes company. It seems that the company personnel were more concerned with keeping the company operating than preserving the day to day history of the company. For example, the names of employees that worked here is sketchy. There are  photos of employees, but without names. At the time, I imagine they were thinking they could just ask someone on the factory floor who that person was in the 2nd row of the employee picture. Now, one hundred years later, that thinking will not work. There are only a couple people on the factory floor in 2020, and their memory does not reach back that far.

As far as we know, the company did not purposely keep employee records, such as a listing of all the employees. We have found some interesting lists of small groups of employees. For example, we have a short list of who received a turkey or box of canned goods for Christmas, but only for one year. We have a list of some employees’ sick leave requests and if it was approved or denied, but, again, only for a short time period. The company management not only failed to keep records, but, in the 90s, directed company personnel to throw away valuable company records. This job is akin to putting together a large jig saw puzzle knowing a lot of the pieces are missing.

“The World’s Finest Kitchens”

There have been rumors that the Coppes Inc. company installed kitchens in famous peoples’ homes. There are no actual (company) paper records of this. President Kennedy’s kitchen and Elvis were but two of the street legends. How do I go about confirming these rumors? I asked long-time employees and their answer was “sure I remember people talking about Elvis, I think he got a kitchen”. Is that enough proof? Or is that just reciting the legends?

I love NEWSPAPERS.COM. In my opinion, the vintage news that made the papers had some factual basis for it being in print. Of course, in the modern era of “political news reporting” we need to read everything carefully and ask what their motive is for saying what they say and or write. I used NEWSPAPERS.COM to search for “Coppes kitchens made for famous people” and found only a few things.

In THE SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 28 Oct. 1963, I found this short notice about President Kennedy’s new kitchen. He was assassinated before he could enjoy “THE WORLD’S FINEST KITCHENS.” I think this is proof of one Kennedy kitchen, but not as the street rumors suggest: a Coppes kitchen in the KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE or at CAMP DAVID. Wonder if the President and First lady had any input in the selection of a Coppes Kitchen, or was the decision to install a Coppes Kitchen made by an architect or designer?  

Another interesting newspaper item I found talks about the installation of Coppes Kitchens in the Governors’ Homes in the states of Wisconsin, Missouri, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. This article was also in THE SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 30 July 1968. Interesting sidebar: the Pennsylvania governor’s “mansion’s china, glass and silverware will be in 45 Coppes-Napanee Maple cabinets in a French Provincial décor.” That’s quite a large kitchen, wonder if there was a smaller kitchen for the personal use of the Governor’s family. On a personal note, I distinctly remember looking at the high-water mark on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Mansion after the hurricane Agnes flood of 1972. The high-water mark was at the height of the top of the 1st floor. At that time, I had no idea I would later be interested in the brand of kitchen installed in the mansion. Wonder if the kitchen was saved or needed to be replaced after the flood.

The only reference to Elvis and a Coppes Kitchen I have found so far (still searching) is in an article that was published in THE STAR PRESS (MUNCIE, INDIANA) 28 Aug, 1958. Written by the New York Socialite, June Allison, she stated that Elvis did not get a Coppes Kitchen because he was unwilling to wait for the normal length of time it took for the Coppes Inc. Co. to build a kitchen. Seems Elvis wanted a kitchen delivered in a couple weeks instead of the usual months in the normal way kitchens were made. “Elvis couldn’t wait for Indiana kitchen”  was the story, while several “famous” people were already enjoying their “World famous” Coppes Kitchens. If all this is true, one could assume that Elvis did come to Nappanee to discuss the purchase of a Coppes Kitchen. Wonder if Elvis would have signed his name in the Show room guest book; inquiring minds want to know.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this kind of information were recorded for use to find today? If interested, you can find this article with NEWSPAPERS.COM. Search for Elvis in the The Star Press on 28th of Aug in 1958.  

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My Search for more Dutch Kitchenet Advertising

Hello, welcome to this week’s Bill’s History Corner. Stay home and stay safe, read Bill’ history Corner. Occupy your mind, even if you think you have nothing to do. This is the place where I get the privilege of talking about the Napanee Dutch Kitchenets and the factory that made them.

Facebook Fan Group

Welcome, but first, I was notified of a new (new for me) Facebook group called “give Your Wife A Hoosier Cabinet”. It’s free and easy to join; just answer two questions, and the administrator will give you access. A few people are selling cabinets, others are attempting to find out who made their cabinets. All in all, it’s interesting.

Today, I want to tell you about is an Internet word search app or program that you can use to search 1000s of vintage newspapers from across the country. It has a monthly subscription cost, but I have found beginners can have a month’s free trial. I love it. I have been using it to hunt for vintage advertising for Napanee Dutch Kitchenets. You can select a time period to search in or search by states. I used the words “Dutch Kitchenet,” and if I remember correctly, there were 250,000 results. Then I started putting limits on the time period and selected just one state to search in, much more manageable that way.

Coppes Advertising Results

The main information I wanted to find was when Coppes Bros. & Zook began heavy advertising of the Napanee Dutch Kitchenets. The earliest store advertisement was in Nov. 1914. The A. J. Parker & Co. Furniture Store in Howell, Mich. had the first that I found with Newspapers .com.

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By 1916-17, there are 100s of Newspaper’s store advertisements competing to sell the Napanee Dutch Kitchenets. In the Coppes Commons historical  paper collections we have a few (5-6) of the Newspaper blank copy ads. The company would provide these to furniture stores so that the stores could insert their store name and place the advertising copy in their local newspapers.

There is a much greater variety of advertising being used for selling the Napanee Dutch Kitchenets than I ever imagined. I found full-page advertising for upcoming Napanee Dutch Kitchenet sales, advertising with time limits (a two-day sale), and a sale named the “Napanee Dutch Kitchenet CIRCLE sale.” The Circle sale was limited to the first 26 ladies to join the circle at an entrance fee of $1.00.  As an incentive to join the circle, after the circle was full, one of the 26 ladies would win a free Napanee Dutch kitchenet while the remaining ladies needed to finish paying for their cabinet. Seems like a neat trick to me. The furniture store got $26.00 for the cabinet they were “giving away” and sold 25 more at full price.

This 2nd ad. is from the SALISBURY EVENING POST ( Salisbury, North Carolina), 17 Jun. 1916.

Dutch Girl Advertising

Another key piece of information I was searching for was when Coppes began using the Dutch Girl in advertising. We still do not where she originated or who is responsible for her in Coppes Advertising. We have thought for some time that the Dutch Girl began appearing in Coppes advertising in 1916, in association with the Model A Cabinet. Here is the nice color picture of the Dutch Girl standing with a Model A Cabinet that has been used in all kinds of Coppes advertising and promotions.

The Model A cabinet and Dutch Girl first appeared in the Coppes Catalogs in 1916. I found liberal use of the Dutch girl in stores’ Newspaper advertising in 1916 and a couple in late 1915.  The H. E. Christie ad. was printed in THE ADAMS COUNTY FREE PRESS (Corming, Iowa)  9 Oct 1915.   The Denham first Co. ad. was printed in THE FAIRMOUT WEST VIRGINIAN (Fairmont, Virginia) 6 Oct 1915.

Kitchenet Selling Prices

A bonus piece of information that I found was the selling price of some cabinets in 1915. I’m almost sure the stores were setting the sale price of the cabinets, but in these two advertisements the cabinet selling price is listed in the advertisements. Model “A” cabinets were priced at regular price $45.00, Special sale price at Denham First store was $39.50. At the Christie store, Credit price was $37.50, and cash price was $32.50.

Hoosiers Nationwide

Other things that we have used for is finding Napanee Dutch Kitchenet advertising from every state in the U. S. We compiled these in a 3-ring binder in the museum. We also searched for all the other companies (that we know of) that made cabinets that I call Hoosier style Cabinets. Almost all the 65 other companies that made their own style of Hoosier cabinet had some advertising in newspapers. We also collected those and placed them in a 3-ring binder in the museum.

How Will You Use

Now what could you use for?  Interested in early baseball teams from the 1930s? Want to read about shipwrecks in 1910? Simply search for your family names in the newspapers. What were the headlines on your birthday? Give it a try, I think the first month is free.

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A Close Look at Francke Hardware Orders

This is the place where we discuss the history of the Coppes kitchen factory. I would invite you to share any thoughts or information you may have on any of the topics I write about.

Where do I start? As you know, if you have been following these posts, we have boxes of business receipts from the early 1900s. We are slowly going through them. Every piece of paper has a story. The latest box we are looking at contained several receipts from the FRANCKE HARDWARE COMPANY, 43 and 45 South Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IND. As an estimate, I would guess we found 50 receipts from Francke Hardware Co in one box, all dated 1905-06. At this rate there are bound to be more in other boxes.

I have picked out a few that I think are the more interesting ones. Maybe I think they are  interesting because I’m an old hardware store freak. I think I’ve said it before: I love anything to do with old hardware stores.

If you think about it, the Coppes companies would have needed several kinds of basic hardware to operate the business. Nails, screws, drawer pulls, hinges, cabinet locks, are but a few items that were regularly ordered from Francke Hardware Co. All the shipments were shipped to Nappanee by the B & O Railroad. Some orders went through Francke Hardware but were shipped directly from the manufacturer, and in those cases, there usually are two railway freight receipts pined with the main receipts.  

The Eagle Lock Company was one company that shipped their products directly. Francke Hardware Company was purchased by the Vonnegut Hardware Company in 1910. Vonnegut went on to become a huge hardware business in Indianapolis with several stores across the city.

Big Business vs. Local

Why the Coppes companies used a distance company (instead of a local Nappanee hardware store) for their larger orders I can only guess at. It must have been cost effective to place orders with Francke Hardware even with the added freight costs. Coppes did use the local Hardware stores, but it was for more immediate items. Often (from other receipt we have found) it seemed like an employee was sent to one of the local hardware stores to pick up an item that was needed immediately, like a repair item.

I have looked at eBay for any Francke Hardware Co. ephemera but have not located any, which makes me wonder, “How did the Coppes Co. know they could order hardware from the Francke company?” If there are no company catalogs or Francke advertising to be found on the antique market now, there must have been an over-the-road salesman from Francke Hardware Co. who made regular visits at the Coppes company. There likely would have been several of these salesmen from different companies stopping at Coppes as they traveled from town to town on the train, staying a night or two at the Coppes Hotel while making sales calls on all the businesses and smaller hardware stores in town.  What an interesting job that must have been. I would have loved it.

Francke Receipts

I had trouble limiting the number of receipts I wanted to scan and show for this History Corner, because they are all extremely interesting.  I hope the few that I picked out illustrate this company’s connection to the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co.

The first receipt I want to show you is from Nov. 27th, 1905. At this time theeceipts were being typed, which makes them much easier to read one hundred and fifteen years later. This receipt is typical of most of the Francke receipts. It has some tools (files, wrenches) then some hardware (catches) and 25 LBS. of “Bill Poster Tacks”.

As was typical of the supplies that were ordered, they were consolidated into one order and then divided among the different Coppes, Zook & Mutschler buildings when the order arrived. I would think it would have been more prudent for each building to place their own orders to eliminate the record keeping time and office time in determining and recording the cost for each building.  To illustrate this, look at the first line which reads 10 Dozen 8” Mill Files 2 Rd. (round) Edges, 5.40 /doz.   $54.00. In the left margin some one has written 3B  7A, which means three dozen of the 10 dozen files were going to building “B,” while the other seven dozen were going to building “A”.

At the bottom of the receipt is the record of the cost of this order for each item at each building. Someone had to determine the cost of the items that was going to each building for each of the line items on the entire order, factoring in the different discounts. Seems like a lot of personnel time being used unnecessarily. By the way this order weighted 705 pounds (with boxing) and cost $1.46 in B & O freight charges.  

The next Francke Hardware Co. receipt is short, only ½ doz. of one item. I’m just going to list the one line.  ½ doz. #62 – 4 ft. Straight Steel rules, Graduated 1/8 & 1/16, per Doz. 28.00   –  14.00 This order was divided among buildings as 1 to C at 1.05;   1 to A @ 1.04;    4 to B @ 4.20. I haven’t really figured out the discount rates yet. For this order of 6 steel rulers the discount is “less 50-10%,” which is written as $7.70 on $14.00. Does this mean take 50% off the original price, and then take an additional 10% of that discount? Anyhow, the final cost of these 6 steel rules was $6.30. Usually the discount is only 3% if the receipt is paid within 30 or 60 days. I would sure like to shop at this hardware store.  

Some interesting lines on other receipts (receipts not scanned) are; “2 -Doz.  14 Qt. Galv. Rd. Bott. Fire Buckets   –   3.45   –     6.90”   ( fire prevention) “½  Doz.   # 1 Double face Engineers hammers    –   5.80     – 2.90”  (Double face? ) “1   Doz. each    12, 13, 14, inch,  claw hammer Hdles   .45, .45, & .50 ea.  – 1.40″  (that’s a lot of handles) “ ½ Doz. ea   13 in. & 18 in.  1 1/8 Iron Bench Screws  – 13 in. @ 3.75/doz – 1.87: 18 in. @ 5.25/doz = 2.63″  (for making their own bench vises)  

Marvin’s Mysterious Brass Box

The last Francke Hardware scan I want to show is also very interesting, not so much for the hardware that was ordered but what this order implies. Here is what this receipt has listed. 1 –  Brass Box Lock & Pins2 – Gilt Catches4 – Brass Box Corners1 – 3 ½ “ Brass Box handle & screws1 – Pr. Brass fancy hinges,  for a total cost of $1.00.”

See the penciled in note “Chg. M. C.”   It would seem likely that (M. C.) Mr. Marvin Coppes was making himself a fancy box with fancy brass hardware. We know that the Coppes 2nd generation children worked in the factory, either as fill-ins where needed or had regular jobs as they were growing up. Did Marvin develop a personal interest in doing woodworking or did he see an inexpensive way to create a gift for someone? Marvin would have been 25 years old and married for three years when this order was placed.   Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks, please come back next week, I’m sure I’ll still be here looking at my keyboard.

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The Kozy-Kitch Cabinet

Hello and welcome to this week’s addition of Bill’s History Corner. Like most of you, I have been working from home, trying to stay safe and not spread the virus. Hope you and your family are safe.

Working from home for me involves spending time searching on the computer. Lately, my main search tool has been This is a word search program that will search newspapers from across the country. Old or new, doesn’t make any difference. Luckily, you can limit the search range by states, years and exact newspapers. I have found that this site usually offers a month free trial for new users and after that there is a monthly subscription. Try it out! Search for what the Yankees did in 1939, or the election news in your birth year.

I have been hunting for Coppes advertising from across the country. I have found different stores’ advertising for selling the Napanee Dutch Kitchenets from every state in the Union. The Coppes company supplied the selling stores with newspaper copy ads that the store could then put their own name on. Then I began searching for the earliest advertisements for such a store sale. In 1913-14, the Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. were beginning to spread the newspaper advertising campaign (for Dutch Kitchenets) across Indiana and then spreading farther away from the home area of Nappanee.

You may be aware that we have a list of 65 or so (it’s a growing list at the bottom of our “Date Your Hoosier” page) of other manufacturing companies that produced a kitchen cabinet that can be considered a Hoosier Cabinet. Our definition of a Hoosier Cabinet is a free-standing cabinet with a work surface and lots of storage space.

Another item that I have been searching for is advertisements from all those other 65 companies. Finding an advertisement would validate their being listed with other companies that made kitchen cabinets. Well, yesterday I found a new company (new to me) from Fort Wayne. What makes this new company the most interesting is the cute names they used. The name of the manufacturing company was The ELECTRIC KITCHENET CO., with the kitchen cabinet they produced called the “KOZY-KITCH”. 

The earliest advertisement for this company was dated 1917, then on the 22th of Dec. 1919, there was a full-page ad in the Fort Wayne Sentinel touting the wonderful opportunity that people could take advantage of by purchasing STOCK in this new proposed company (No buildings yet). The advertisement explained the business plan of the company, how they were going take advantage of the exploding need for kitchen cabinets in new housing and apartment buildings.  Indeed, one of the main selling points from this company was the value of having a KOZY-KITCH  installed in new apartments. Several classified type ads listed apartments having a KOZY-KITCH as a selling point.

That Dec. 22nd, 1919 advertisement said they were planning on producing 15,000 kitchen cabinets per year with a profit of $450,000.00 per year. Wow, what a sales job that was! It’s not clear if a manufacturing building was ever constructed for this company.

Another ad recommended having the cabinets produced on contract with another firm. In 1918 this company was selling “territorial Rights” to “moneyed people only” to promote the KOZY-KITCH  in a Chicago newspaper advertisement.

It seems this company was not too concerned about selling to the individual customer. I found only one advertisement explaining where to view the KOZY-KITCH  in Fort Wayne and no advertisements from stores promoting a sale of the KOZY-KITCH  cabinets. Apparently, the company business plan was to promote the KOZY-KITCH  cabinets to builders of new apartments and new homes. Here are a couple advertisements  that uphold that idea. Notice that some of the KOZY-KITCH units had a built in refrigerator. Coppes and Zook did the same thing for their line of apartment cabinets.  

Another idea promoted by the Electric kitchenet Co. was to rent a KOZY-KITCH cabinet for $2.50 per week, then after eighteen months they would give the cabinet to you: $2.50 per week X 18 months = $180.00. Wonder how many people did that?

The final advertisement I want to show is from 1933. In the South Bend tribune was a notice to dissolve the company. This company lasted approx. 15 years, from 1918 to 1933. Sure would be fun to find one of these KOZY-KITCH cabinets. Wonder if they put their name on the cabinets?

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The Vitreous Company is “Tops” for Coppes

Hello, and welcome to this week’s Bill’s History Corner. Today I’m going to talk about the Vitreous company. Nappanee’s Vitreous Company made the porcelain tabletop work surface that was on every Dutch kitchen Cabinet. Exactly when the Coppes Co. began using the porcelain tops is still in question. 

Vitreous Comes to Town

In approx. 1919-20, the town of Nappanee raised funds to help the Cleveland, Ohio Vitreous Metal Stamping company to set up a branch factory in Nappanee. The Coppes Bros. & Zook, along with the Mutschler Bros. Co , were the major backers for this new company move. The Dutch Kitchen Cabinet output from the Coppes factory was using 1,000’s of these Porcelain top work surfaces each month. It is still unclear if the Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. began purchasing porcelain work surfaces from the Vitreous Company while the Company was still in Cleveland or started using the Vitreous product only after they moved to Nappanee . I’ve been researching that, but so far, no luck.

One interesting note I have found is from a 1916 Coppes Bros. & Zook catalog stating that “Aluminum tables boiled in a paraffin preparation, closing the pores in the wood so that it will not absorb moisture, consequently will not warp, swell or shrink.” Also “Porcelain tables may be had in place of the aluminum.” So apparently, the aluminum tabletops were still the standard in 1916, with the option of switching to a porcelain top if the customer wanted.  Wonder how much extra it costed.

Vitreous on Parade

I have a couple pictures to show you. In the 1949 Nappanee City Parade, the Vitreous Company had an ingenious float. On one end is a small band, and on the other end are the requested pretty girls.  I have two snap shots of the float. I think it was built on a company forklift truck. Look at the pictures closely. Can you see the driver of the float? In one picture, one end of the float is lifted high in the air. It seems like the float would be able to travel forward or backwards along the parade route. Maybe it switched directions. Only trouble with that is no one would know unless they saw it turn around.


I also have this photo of six vitreous employees at a 25 years of service party. I have no idea who these people are or when this picture was taken. It just points out the importance of identifying your pictures. Your pictures may be wonderful and important to someone in the future.

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H. Toms Furniture Co. – Dealer of Dutch Kitchenets

Hello everyone, and thanks for coming to Bill’s History Corner. This is the place where we discuss all things about the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Company, or any other name the company went by.  The company names changed as people died or left the company. 

Today, I want to tell about a new sign we acquired. This one is from H. TOMS Co. FURNITURE , from RICHLAND CENTER, WIS. Also, we were lucky enough to acquire a companion sign.  Interestingly, the H. Toms Co. was also group of undertakers. I think this combination of furniture and undertaking was more common than you might realize. After all, who was going to build the coffins that would be needed but the furniture/cabinetmakers?

It is our opinion that the Coppes Company supplied these standardized ( we now have two that are identical, but different store names) “NAPANEE DUTCH KITCHENET” metal signs to the stores that were having a Dutch Kitchenet sale in their stores. The store would be responsible for having the store name printed, and, in this instance, that would be the H. Tom’s Co. FURNITURE.

I think I have mentioned it before that we have a ledger in the Coppes collection from 1924 that I named The Shipping Ledger. It has listings of all the items sent (mailed or shipped by rail) to different stores across the country. At that time, Coppes & Zook Co had several over the road salesmen promoting the DUTCH KITCHENET CABINET. These salesmen would call or telegraph back to the factory with any orders they may have secured, or maybe they wanted the company to send promotional items to a store to help convince them that having a DUTCH KITCHENET CABINET sale would be a great thing. The free giveaways included, at different times, hand mixers, measuring cups, sets of dishes, cutlery sets, etc. Even the small porcelain-top kitchen tables were sometimes given with a purchase of a Dutch Kitchenet. The free giveaways were the exact thing that the other major Hoosier Cabinet manufacturing companies were doing. Coppes needed to complete with all the other selling ideas that other companies were practicing. 

I found this newspaper advertisement in a Chattanooga, Tennessee paper. It is not from the H. Toms Furniture Store, but it illustrates another selling idea that Coppes used. They would have a salesman familiar with selling Coppes cabinets in the store during the 3-5-day period of the sale.

The final item I want to show in this History Corner is an item I found on the internet. When you Google “the H. Toms Furniture Store,” what you find is this. It appears they were also sometime selling the Hoosier brand of cabinet. The H. Toms building is the one on the left side.

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Nappanee Loves a Parade!

Welcome to Bill’s History Corner, where we discuss all things about Coppes.

Today we are looking at pictures of parade floats. The town of Nappanee loved a good parade and still does to this day. The Coppes company, like many other businesses in Nappanee, participated by building a float for the parade. In the Coppes Commons collection we have photos of a George Lamb Company horse-drawn float,

a Mutschler Bros. truck decked out for a parade,

along with the “Vitreous on parade” float.

We also have two pictures of Coppes, Zook & Mutschler log wagons during one of the “Onion Days” celebrations in Nappanee.

Also, a picture of at least twelve horse & log wagons lined up for a picture. Was this picture during the “Onion Days” parade?

The Howenstein – Burback picture is of their parade float.

This Nappanee hardware store which was formed in 1899, was located in the building which later became Martin’s hardware.

The float from the McNeil & Higgins Company, Chicago (below), which is promoting the “None Such” brand of food products is a mystery, did they bring their float to Nappanee to participate in a parade or are we mistaken as to the location of this picture?

We have four photos of Coppes floats: two of the 1949 float pulled by a truck and one photo each of the 1921 and 1925 floats with several Coppes Napanee Cabinets on board.

If anyone has other pictures of Coppes floats or anything of interest we want to hear from you. We would like to make copies of your pictures and add them to our Coppes Commons collection.

If one picture is worth a 1000 words, then we talked a lot today. Thanks for visiting this site, come back next week for the next Bill’s History Corner installment.

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Following the Toilet Paper Trail

Hello, welcome to Bill’s History Corner. This is the place where I try to explain items/information we find about the factory that made the Napanee Dutch Kitchenet.  This week I going to attempt some bathroom humor. As we are going through the boxes of old factory receipts, we find some very interesting things. This receipt got my attention, and then I tried to think about how I could explain it. Well, here is where bathroom humor meets Coppes, Zook & Mutschler.

This receipt is from the L.H. GARDNER PAPER CO. successors to LAUREN H. GARDNER MANUF’R OF TOILET PAPER, from MUMFORD, N.Y.  This first receipt is dated Feb. 26, 1906. Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. ordered three cases of CULL toilet paper, which weighted in at 520 pounds (the railroad thought it was 550 pounds). After a 2% discount for prompt payment, the cost of the 3 cases was $22.90. Wonder what the difference between CULL toilet paper and the best grade is?

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We also have the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co. freight ticket for this order. A notation on the freight receipt is written as “1 Bx Broken open contents apparently ok”.  Looks like the C, Z & M Co. gave a .15 cents tip to the railroad Co., possibly for repacking the toilet paper. My inquiring mind wants to know: how many rolls of TP were in these three cases? I would never do this, but have you seen houses around Nappanee that were TPed?

The second receipt is from the same company and dated Jan 31, 1907. This order is also for three cases of cull toilet paper. This order weighed 460 pounds and cost $20.70. So far, these two receipts are the only ones we have found, there are sure to be others. A penciled notation on this receipt indicates that 1 case was sent to building “B” and 2 cases sent to building “A” for use. Interesting, none were sent to the office. Maybe they brought their toilet paper from home. And that concludes the bathroom humor for today.

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The Dutch Lady on the Road

Hello and welcome to another Bill’s History Corner. Keep those cards and letters coming. This week I was thinking of how I could write about something that would be interesting to everyone. I couldn’t think of any, so I’m writing about a store in Fort Dodge, Iowa. This should make at least one person happy.

Fort Dodge Showroom

A picture I want to show you today is a store’s showroom window. I assume it was on the street level so it would catch the attention of people passing by. The display in the window is two Coppes kitchenet cabinets with the Dutch Lady and a lot of signs.

The cabinet on the left side is a 1922 Model G, and the one on the right is a 1922 Model E. So, we can guess that the time period for this picture was the early 1920s. We know that the “Dutch Lady” found her way into Coppes advertising around 1916, but we still don’t know where she came from or who thought she would be a good addition. This window was a typical showroom window; we have several pictures of showrooms. Making use of existing stores was the main method that Coppes used to sell cabinets during this time period, and if the store had a picture store window, the better the sale.

Try to picture an over-the-road salesmen with a Coppes Kitchenet in the back seat of their car, going door to door. Besides the two cabinets and the “Dutch Lady,” this window had several smaller signs pointing to the better points of a Coppes Dutch Kitchenet. Also, a 42-piece dinner set would have been given to each purchaser of a cabinet. A sign that is difficult to see and read is the “A. D. McQuilkin Co. ” sign in the lower left.

A.D. McQuilkin Co. Store Discovered

When I finally realized this sign was there, I was off and running, hunting the Internet for more information on this store. Among some of the interesting items I found on the Internet is this next picture of the street where the McQuiltin Co. store was located. The building on the right side with the sign painted on it is the McQuilkin store. The sign reads “The big store with the little prices”. Notice the horse and wagons in the street. This is a 1915 picture.

DesMoines Register Newspaper Ad 1923

Another item I found is this newspaper advertisement for the Coppes Co-Operative Sale. This paper is the Des Moines Register from Feb. 11, 1923, and lists 81 stores (including A. D. McQuiltin) that are having a Coppes kitchenet Sale at the same time. This is the first time we have known of a ‘Co-operative” sale. How did that kind of sale work? Normally when an individual store had a Coppes Kitchenet sale, as part of the contract, a Coppes employee who specialized in kitchenet salesmenship was in the store during the 3-4 day sale to help with the cabinet sales. How did that work when there were 81 stores in the same area? Inquiring minds want to know.

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A Peek Inside the 1952 House & Garden Book of Building

Hello, and welcome to another Bill’ History Corner. We recently acquired a 1952 issue of the House & Garden Book of Building. We mainly got this magazine because it had a Coppes Inc. advertisement in it.

What has been of great interest to us is the comparison between the Coppes advertisement and other kitchen cabinet companies in this magazine. This magazine is intended for people planning on building a new house and has 40 new house plans and sections on remolding and maintenance. It seems like a great place for a Coppes advertisement for kitchen cabinets.

I wonder what the advertising budget for Coppes Inc. was in 1952. From what we see in this magazine, that advertising budget was not very big. Here are some of the ads in this magazine. Decide for yourself if the advertising was the best they could have had.