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Finishing Oak Cabinets with Marietta

Good day, welcome to today’s Bill’s History Corner. We are still sorting through the boxes of receipts from the Coppes factory. I thought this might be interesting for you. Seems that the Coppes company purchased various finish products from the Marietta Paint & Color Company, Marietta, Ohio. This company advertised on their billhead as the Manufactures of PASTE WOOD FILLERS, STAINS & SURFACERS, PREPARED PAINTS, SUPERFINE COLORS, ETC. These receipts are dated 1903 and 1909, the time period when the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. was active.

Filling Oak Lumber

As you can see from this receipt the company ordered “2- Bbls. No. 666 Extra Filler – 750-788 = 1538 LBS.   4 ¾   $73.06”.  For an explanation of what that line means let’s start with the 666 Extra Filler. During these years the C, Z & M co. was producing a huge quantity of OAK furniture. Oak lumber is an open-pore type lumber, as compared to a smooth-pore lumber like Maple. When the company would put on the topcoat clear finish on the oak furniture, the finish would pool into the open pores and the surface would appear uneven and rough. To solve this problem, the company had workers in the finishing department rub “EXTRA FILLER” on the surface and into the pores of the Oak furniture. This “EXTRA FILLER” did exactly as the name implies, it would fill the pores and, when dry, would make a smooth surface for the topcoat application.  

The wood filler that I have used is rather thick, thicker than old paint for example but less thick than a bar of soap. This makes me wonder; in 190, what kind of equipment did they have to move barrels that weighted 788 pounds? Likely it would have been a wooden barrel. Inquiring minds want to know.

Graining Ink

The 2nd scan I want to show you is also from The Marietta Paint & Color Co. dated Sept. 20th, ’09. This receipt is for “5-10 lb. (containers) No1 27– graining Ink — 50 lb. —- $.15/ lb.   = $7.50 with a 2% discount of $.15. ”  During this time period, quartersawn oak furniture was the fashion rage. The Coppes companies were producing oak furniture by the thousands of pieces. In order to highlight the quartersawn oak wood that was used in the furniture, the Coppes finishers brushed on “graining ink.” You can correctly think of the “graining ink” as thin black paint that was carefully applied to enhance the quartersawn look.

I would love to see this done. Did they use small brushes, almost as an artist would paint a picture? Would the finishers ever be bold enough to do the unthinkable and enhance a surface that wasn’t there to begin with? I think that would be called faking it.

Thanks for stopping by, see ya next week.

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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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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.

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Underwood Typewriter Receipt

Hello, welcome to Bill’s History Corner. First, I want to say “Hi” to all my friends back in Pennsylvania.

Today I’m going to discuss typewriters, specifically the one that Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. purchased in May of 1912. Again, we were exploring & digging in the Coppes Commons paper collections, and we found this interesting item.

underwood receipt

This purchase was made from the UNDERWOOD TYPEWRITER CO. INC. of CHICAGO by paying cash. I wonder if someone from the company made a special trip to the store in Chicago. Notice that there is not a shipping cost on this receipt. Someone must have been there to pick it up.

The list price of the typewriter was $102.50. The C, Z & M Co. received a 10% discount (for cash ??) even with the TERMS NET NO DISCOUNT ALLOWED stamp in red ink. Also, a $16.25 credit was received for “Cr.  Rem # 7 / 184139” (was this a Remington No. 7 Typewriter trade in that someone carried to Chicago?) for a final price of $76.00. This receipt is marked with the Underwood Typewriter Co. “PAID” stamp and signed by an M. L. Martin on May 15, 1912.

So far so good, but you know what? Typewriters need ribbons. The C, Z & M Co. was purchasing ribbons from the Chicago store at $1.00 each until they found they could purchase ribbons cheaper from an Underwood Typewriter Co. located in Fort Wayne.  At the Fort Wayne store, they could purchase a package of six ribbons for $3.75, which was a little more than half the price at Chicago. I have no idea if this Underwood typewriter was the only one at the C, Z & M Co. but they did seem to use it a lot because they purchased 27 additional ribbons for an Underwood in the following calendar year.

Look What We Found!

antique underwood typewriter

We were fortunate to find this Underwood Typewriter at the Dutch Lady Antique store. It seems to be the match for the one C, Z, & M Co. purchased in 1912.

This concludes the story of the Underwood Typewriter. Thanks, come back next week for more spellbinding reading.

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The Glue that Held C,Z & M Together

Welcome to this week’s Bill’s History Corner. This is the place where we talk about all things Coppes. First, I want to say it is not my intention to make anyone sick or to make this a bad experience for you. I’m going to be talking about “hide glue,” (made from horses) the type of glue that was very common in the first part of the last century. The type of glue that 100% (that is a guess) of furniture factories used to build their products. Even today, there are professional furniture makers that will use nothing else. They think it is that good. The one appeal for hide glue is that you can undo a dry glue joint with heat. Apply heat and the glue will soften. Just don’t think about what hide glue is made from.

That’s a Lot of Glue!

Coppes, Zook & Mutschler used hide glue, Boy-O-Boy, did they use hide glue. While searching the Coppes Commons paper collection we found several receipts from the UNITED STATES GLUE CO., MILWAUKEE, WIS. This is at least one of the companies that Coppes purchased hide glue from. The C, Z & M Co. used a lot of glue. In a two-year time period from Feb. 1912 through Dec. 13, 1913, we found 13 different receipts from this company for hide glue. Each order was for “three bbls. (barrels) of ground joint glue”. The average weight of each barrel was approx. 550 pounds each. The company ordered a total of 20,781 pounds of glue in this time period. Another way to think about this is that amount is more than 10 tons of glue. The cost was $.13 or $.14 cents per pound.

How and Where the Glue Was Used

As you might expect, the C, Z & M Co. used this glue at many locations in the factory buildings. Wherever parts were assembled there needed to be a glue container at the ready. Workers glued door frames, side panels and frames.  We can still tell where many of these glue operations were located in the factory, because there is a thick layer of glue on the floor there. If a workman dropped just one drop for each door he glued together, the result is the large mess on the floor today.

But most likely the largest amount of this hide glue was used in the glue room. Just off the main machinery room was the glue room. This is the two-story brick building to the far West of the building complex. This building is unused now except for storage, but in its heyday, this room was very busy. Workmen sent pieces of wood from the machine room to the glue room when larger pieces were made by gluing them together. An obvious item that was made from this technique is a cutting board where it is best to make the larger item from narrow strips that a glued together. This ensured that it did not warp or twist.

An Interesting Discovery

Several years ago, when I was sorting trash in the buildings, I found two hide glue containers. These containers were almost unique. I had not seen anything like these before, and I fancy myself as knowledgeable about tools and related subjects. After doing some patent research, I discovered the glue containers were patented July 3, 1883, by a man from Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hide glue needs to be kept warm so it will be soft enough to spread into the wood joints. There are several glue containers that have the means to keep the glue warm. Weatherly’s patent does this by attaching to a steam or hot water pipe. The water jacket is heated from the hot pipe and this, in turn, keeps the glue warm. This patent idea does allow the smaller inside glue container to be removed and carried to the location where needed, then returned to be kept warm.

Other types of hide glue containers or glue pots were available at the time. Smaller pots made of cast iron (heavy cast iron to hold the heat) worked the same way. Basically, a glue pot is two containers, the larger pot contains heated water and the inside smaller one contains the glue. Keep in mind you will need an additional heat source during a full day’s work. Electric glue pots became available when electricity became widely used.

Some Conjecture On the “Glue Man”

We just don’t know, but I suspect there was a workman in the early factory that was the glue man. It was the glue man’s responsibility to arrive early every morning and mix the hide glue for that day’s use. Think of this as cooking the glue, because that was what he was doing. The hide glue was purchased in dry flakes, (remember those barrels) and needed to be mixed with water and heated. I’m sure there was a formula for the correct mixture, but a lot of this job was done by eye, getting the right consistency for the various departments in the factory. It would need to be thicker and heavier for the gluing of frames and thinner and lighter for the veneer department. The glue man could expect some one could come to him at any time of the day with an empty glue pot and want more glue. Many workmen depended on him to keep a supply of good glue ready for use.

A Parting Thought

Just one more thing before I go for the week: I couldn’t help but notice the symbol in the upper left corner of this United States Glue Co. receipt. Here is an enlargement of the symbol. Now ask yourself,  I wonder where Coppes, Zook & Mutschler got the idea of interlocking letters to paint on the outside of the building and use on company letter heads.