Welcome to this week’s bill’s History Corner. This is the place where I talk about aspects of the business that we all lovingly refer to as the Coppes factory. Does that love come from a family member having worked at the factory, or maybe you have one of those wonderful DUTCH KITCHENETS that made Nappanee famous. Or possibility you lived close enough that you could hear the factory whistle morning, noon, and night.
Warsaw Is just down the road from Nappanee. In 1881, Warsaw was also just down the tracks. Wonder which was the faster method to travel to Warsaw in 1881: by train, or horse and buggy? In 1881, J. C. Mellinger ordered two types of cards printed at the R. WILLIAMS & SON, Dr. -Proprietors- NORTHERN INDIANIAN STEAM PRINTING HOUSE, INDIANIAN BUILDING, BUFFALO STREET, WARSAW, IND.
The 1st receipt is for “500 Notes (bound)” (was this like a bound & printed note pad?) = $3.50.
The first receipt is dated Aug. 23, 1881 and also signed Aug. 23, 1881. It reads “Received Payment. Reub (?) Williams & Son BQW” (a clerk?). Interestingly, these notes were ordered and paid for the same day. That means that likely the “Notes” were something the printing co. had on hand, maybe made from paper cut-offs that they sold to the general public. Does not seem like the printing co. had time to set up type and then print 500 notes in one day.
How did this transaction take place? Was J. C. Mellinger in Warsaw for some business and stopped at the printing co. and purchased the “Notes” on a whim? In 1881 THE NAPPANEE NEWS was in business with the News Paper and stationary supplies. Why not shop in Nappanee, why go to Warsaw?
The 2nd receipt, shown above, is from 17 days later. On Sept 10, 1881, 500 Postal Cards at $7.00 were ordered. This time the payment received was dated 2 days later, on the 12th. The same “BQW” Signed the receipt. Were the “500 Postal Cards” the stamped postcards that were to become popular around the turn of the century? Also, if they were the printed stamped postcards, who were J. C. Mellinger & Co. going to send them to? Postcards cost one cent to mail in 1881. What, if anything, was printed on the cards? We have not found any such cards on the antique market. Inquiring minds want to know.