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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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A Question Answered and Another Posed

The Flour Mill Cupola

In last week’s Bill’s History Corner, I was discussing the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. Flour mill. Someone asked a good question, and because I think I know the answer, I’ll try to answer the question here this week. It was “What was the little cupola on the top of the mill for?

The cupola is high on top of the building for a reason. The small building-like structure is to protect the machinery inside the cupola. This machinery inside is the central elevator or leg that lifts the grain from the unloading area to the top, then dumps the grain into shoots that allow the grain to slide into storage bins. The reason it is on the top is so gravity can pull the grain downward into the different storage bins that were on the top floor. Gravity doesn’t cost anything to use. All the bins can’t be in the same place, so the elevator needs to dump out the grain into shoots higher than the bins so gravity can take it to bins farther away from the center elevator. These shoots, they were wooden at this time, were angled away from the main elevator. The higher the elevator the farther away the shoot could slide the grain. If the grain shoot was too close to horizontal the grain would not flow smoothly and backup. You can see examples of this all over the Indiana countryside.

Some modern farmers that have several of their own storage bins also have an elevator type tool in the middle of the bins that lifts the grain to a higher point where it is dumped in shoots to slide into the different bins. It was the same principle at the flour mill, only they built a small building around the machinery to protect it from the weather.  Sure looks cute in this picture, doesn’t it?

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A New Mystery for This Week

This week’s History Corner is a small Puzzle. Hopefully, someone can help us out here and give us a bit more information so we can understand what was going on in 1909 & 1910. Possibly for many other years also, but we have not searched for other years for this company’s receipts yet.

As you can see by the scan below, this receipt Dated December 2nd, 1909 is from the “Office of INDIANA STATE CHEMIST, Agricultural Experiment Station, LAFAYETTE, IND.  To W. J. Jones, Jr. State Chemist. DR.     I only listed the purchase lines from the other receipts, as the bill heads are the same.

We have found seven receipts (see list below) for this 12 – month time period. All the receipts are for “100# (100 pound) TAGS” either the No. 2609 or the No. 2610 TAGS. What were these tags for and why did the C, Z & M Co. need to order them from this INDIANA STATE CHEMIST at the AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION, in LAFAYETTE, IND? Was Purdue involved in the INDIANA STATE CHEMIST at LAFAYETTE?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Boy-o-Boy, if we only had one of these tags, maybe that would tell us something. As a guess, I would think this would have something to do with the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. Flour Mill. The receipt does have the name   “AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION” printed on it. The Flour Mill is certainly more agricultural related than the cabinet shops. Could this puzzle be as simple as the C, Z & M Co. needed to send samples of some of their products to the office of the INDIANA STATE CHEMIST for detailed testing before they could put a STATE tag on it for sale? Sort of like the GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SEAL OF APPROVAL, only this tag was for either a type of flour or another product they were making. If anyone has an answer to this puzzle, please let us know your thoughts.

December 31th, 1909 – – For 1875, 100# tags  No. 2610  = $15.00

March——   3rd. 1910 – – For 2500, 100# tags   No. 2609  = $20.0

August ——-7th, 1909 – – For 2500, 100# tags   No. 2609 = $20.00

      “                “        “    – – For 2500, 100# tags   No. 2610 = $20.00

May  ———5th, 1910 – – For 2500, 100# tags   No. 2609 = $20.00

    “                   “       “    – – For 2500, 100# tags  No. 2610 = $20.00

December 15th, 1910 – –  For 2500, 100# tags  No. 2610 = $20.00

December 21th, 1910 – – For 3125, 100# tags  No. 2609 = $25.00