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Coppes our history

A Sound Idea

Bill Warner
March 14, 2019
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Hello, welcome to this week’s History Corner. There is an important topic which I want to begin speaking about. That topic is the idea of putting another steam whistle somewhere on the outside of the Coppes Commons property and making it possible to blow the whistle.

I personally do not remember the original Whistle that functioned at the Coppes factories, although I must have heard it many times in the 60s. From reliable sources, I understand that the Coppes factory whistle, which was two-toned, disappeared from the factory location approx. 15 years ago. People who had an interest in Nappanee’s history were watching it, then it disappeared. So far no one has claimed ownership, though I guess ownership of a stolen item may be a bit sketchy. At least this has been the story that people have told me.

We (I should say the owners of Coppes Commons and the Coppes Napanee Kitchen Factory) want to reintroduce the whistle to the factory, with the possibility of blowing the whistle at noon each work day and at special events. Here is where you can be of help. Please comment on this idea of reintroducing the whistle to Coppes Commons. Do you think this is a sound (pun intended) idea?

I found some drawings of whistles in an old 1906 tool & hardware catalog to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about. Sorry the book was too big to fit on my scanner, so the edge is cut off. The part that is missing said “Diameter of bell” 2nd line was “Diameter of pipe” 3rd line was “Price, Whistles with-out Valves” and the 4th line was “Price, Whistles with Valves” These were 1906 prices, WOW.

I wonder what distance you could hear one of these whistles. I was also thinking the larger sizes make the type of sound we readily associate with large ocean-going ships. While the smaller sizes make sounds associated with steam engines that we see and hear at tractor shows.