Helpful Clues to Determine the Age of Your Coppes Napanee Hoosier Cabinet
First, a word about the term “Hoosier Cabinets:” this is a broad category term that implies a style of cabinet that was manufactured in or near the state of Indiana. Most of the older free-standing style of kitchen cabinets were actually made in or near Indiana and therefor can be rightly called “Hoosier Cabinets,” but they should also be identified by their specific manufacturer. Here at Coppes Commons we have collected more than 150 names of different companies that produced kitchen cabinets that are easily grouped within the Hoosier Cabinets style. This information was found in advertising in magazines, in the antique markets, or listings on Ebay. The list can be found at the bottom of this page.
The period of manufacture for Hoosier Cabinets begins before 1900 and lasts till the 2nd World War, a period of approx. 40 years, until the modern built-in kitchen cabinets took over the business. Some of the companies that made this “HOOSIER” style of kitchen cabinet likely followed the growing popularity of the new kitchen cabinets. They may have already been in the general furniture manufacturing business and just added kitchen cabinets because the general public wanted the new style of kitchen cabinets. Here at Coppes, we continued to produce the Napanee line of kitchen cabinets (Hoosier style) while making and selling the modern style of cabinet–wall hung units with long, straight countertops on the base cabinets. There are a lot of similarities in the Hoosiser style kitchen cabinet, most likely because companies borrowed ideas from the examples on the market. The accessories such as flour bins, glassware, and sheet metal parts were likely purchased from wholesalers who sold to several companies.
To confuse the issue further, there was a large kitchen cabinet company in New Castle, Indiana that was named “The Hoosier Manufacturing Company.” So, when people ask “is that a Hoosier”, do they mean the Hoosier Mfg. Co. or a style of cabinet? Confusing.
The factory that made the Coppes Dutch Kitchenet and or Napanee cabinets, has a long history. It began with a sawmill in 1876 and is still in business today(2019), manufacturing kitchens. To read more about the history of the Coppes companies, visit the “Our Story” page on our site.
To identify the exact date of manufacture for a Coppes Napanee kitchen is difficult without access to our large collection of company catalogs. The model numbers changed quickly. In the approximately 40 years that the Hoosier style kitchen cabinets were mfg. by Coppes Napanee, we have counted more than 300 different model numbers. As you may guess, the actual changes to the different models were sometimes small. The addition of a cutting board, the style of legs, for example, or a different mfg. process would change the model number. Please remember, there is no hard and exact rule for dating these cabinets. Custom orders could be made at any time, also they wisely continued to use up existing parts and supplies even if the cabinet model number had changed. The catalogs may not have reflected the exact date in a change of model number. Dating kitchen cabinets is not like dating automobiles. Newer models did not always begin in the fall of the coming calendar year. To peruse some of our catalogs, visit our Catalogs pages. Coppes Dutch Kitchenets usually had a metal name tag nailed somewhere on the front. There may also be a paper label on the back, top & bottom. In addition, the model number, color, or Stencil style were shandwrittend written on the back with a thick ink type brush.
Things to look for in dating a Coppes Napanee
1st-Type of original finish
2nd-Metal tag on the cabinet
3rd-How was the cabinet assembled?
4th-Style of flour bin
1st: What type of original finish was on the piece?
The earliest cabinets had a clear finish, such as shellac or lacquer. Painting the cabinets did not start until the 1920s. You could still order a Coppes cabinet with a clear finish (or no finish) after the cabinets started to be painted. The use of a clear finish required a better quality of wood in the construction of the cabinets. White Oak was the most common exterior wood used in Cabinets during this clear finish era (1898-1920) of cabinet manufacture at Coppes Napanee. If you are restoring a cabinet that was painted sometime in it’s history, then you need to decide what it had originally and if you want to keep the paint or do a clear finish.
2nd – Which metal tag is on the Cabinet?
This tag changed when the company changed its name or a special style of cabinet was manufactured. See pictures below of the known examples. Again, the company used one style of tag until they ran out, then started with the newer tag. The years of use are close estimates. We have no knowledge of the exact type of label on the cabinets manufactured by The Nappanee Furniture Co. between 1898-1902 . Likely it would have been a heavy paper label tacked on the back.
Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. The company was already using a misspelling of the town Nappanee on labels (one “p”). At the time it was illegal to use the proper name of a town in advertising a product.
1912 – 1913
This tag (COBROOK) we think was used for a short time after the end of the Coppes, Zook, & Mutschler partnership (1912-13). CO = Coppes, BRO = Brothers, OK = Zook
1925 – 1930
This badge was used on full-size cabinets.
The Coppes ELECTRIFIED Cabinet Tag was on a cabinet that Coppes wanted to obtain the U. S. patent for. Unfortunately, they were too late. Other companies had used electricity in different cabinets for lighting and outlets, so the Coppes patent application was turned down.
Coppes Bros. & Zook – Brass with blue background or Aluminum with black or blue. This is the most common tag.
The Napanee Kitchen Compact patented cabinet was made 1936-38. This tag has Coppes Inc. , so we know that the company was incorporated after 1936.
This tag was commonly used on smaller cabinets as well as full size
Coppes Napanee label of the style used on later modern style kitchen cabinets, 3 3/8th in. long.
Below is a very rare Coppes Bros. and Zook cabinet nameplate. It was used in different years, sometimes in the cabinets of 1937
This very thin brass embossed label is a rare tag with unknown dates for use.
Below is an example of a wood burned label used inside drawers on later model kitchens.
Examples of reproduction labels of the type sold on EBAY follow.
Another type of label you may find is a paper label glued on the back (both top & bottom). The labels we have seen have the model number, the finish style or color, and possibly the store that sold the cabinet or the customer. The early cabinets may have the model and other information handwritten with a dark chalk or a black ink type brush.
3rd – How was the cabinet assembled?
These can be a deciding factor in determining who manufactured your cabinet or which company manufactured it. Here are photos of the type of side bracket used on early Coppes Napanee cabinets and a detail photo showing the way the top joint was put together. As a general rule of thumb, remember the methods changed, the styles changed, the materials changed, and using just one factor in judging the age of a cabinet may not be accurate.
4th – What style of flour bin does your Coppes Napanee kitchen cabinet have?
Below are several pictures of cabinets with different flour bins. The exact location of the smaller bins varied in the cabinets. Remember, Coppes likely purchased flour bins from a wholesaler. Other companies could have purchased the same flour bins.
1908 Flour Bin Style 1912 Flour Bin Style
1923 Flour Bin Style
1927 Flour Bin Style
1930 Flour Bin Style
1932 Flour Bin Style
1938 Flour Bin Style
Do you have a Napanee Dutch Kitchenette? Register yours along with many other proud owners via our Hoosier Cabinet Registry!
Our collected list of Hoosier Cabinet manufacturers:
- Abernathy Furniture Co, Kansas City, MO
- Ariel Cabinet Company – Peru, Indiana ”handyhelper”
- Boone – Lebanon, Indiana
- Chatham-Manson Campbell Co, Chatham, Ont 1900-
- Culinart, Frankfort, Ind.
- Dearborn Desk manufacturing Co, Marion, IN ( The Marion Cabinet Co.)
- Diamond – Shelbyville, Indiana (C.F. Schmoe)
- Elwell- Minneapolis, MN
- Greencastle – Greencastle, Indiana
- H. J. Scheirich, Louisville, KY
- Hastings ?
- Harris Brown Co, 1912
- Hoosier Manufacturing Co. New Castle, Indiana
- “HOPPER” Brand Kitchen Cabinet Cupboard, made in Sioux City, Iowa. (eBay item)
- Ideal – Vincennes, Indiana
- I-XL furniture Co (Goshen IN)-looks like Coppes parts
- Kelly foundy and Machine, Goshen, IN
- Keystone, Littlestown, PA
- Landau Cabinet Co, St Louis, Mo
- Mutschler family Manufacturing, Nappanee, IN
- Kemper- Richmond, IN/Cincinnati, OH
- Marsh – High Point, North Carolina (Marsh Furniture Company)
- The Ohio State Stove & Mfg. Co., Columbus, Ohio ( Royal Ossco all steel kitchen cabinet )
- Oxford- 1930’s, Oxford, PA
- McClure. Marion, IN
- McDougall – Frankfort, Indiana
- Napanee – Nappanee, Indiana (Coppes, Zook & Mutschler) (Coppes Bros. & Zook) ( Coppes, INC.)
- Scheirich, Louisville, Kentucky.
- Sellers – Elwood, Indiana
- Showers Brothers Furniture Co. – Bloomington, Indiana
- Wilson – Grand Rapids, Michigan (sold by Sears)
- Harris-Brown table co. kitchen cabinet
- The Manson Cambell Company, Chatham, ONT.