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 Newspapers.com. 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 Newspapers.com 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?