Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on 2 Comments

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.

Posted on 1 Comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

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?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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