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Nappanee Furniture Co. | March 11, 1903

Bill Warner
July 02, 2020
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Welcome to another Bill’s History Corner. Hope you and your family are staying safe. When the medical personnel talk about older people with preexisting medical conditions, they are talking about me and a lot of other old people. Thanks for doing your part to keep us safe.

Today I found a receipt from the Nappanee Furniture Co. dated March 11, 1903. The receipt is stamped in red ink “COPPES, ZOOK & MUTSCHLER Co. successors,” which means the company did not have new company receipts printed yet or they were using up the old paper. As you may remember, the partnership with the Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. and the Nappanee Furniture Co (The Mutschler Bros.) began as the new company on May 1st, 1902. So, the new company had approx. 9-10 months to print new paper with the correct company name. They did have time to have a new rubber stamp made.

The 1903 receipt reads “Nappanee Furniture Company, Manufacturers of Kitchen, Extension, Parlor, and Library Tables, and Kitchen Cabinets. Frank Coppes,  Pres., Tobias Hartman, Treas., Albert Mutschler, Sec, & Supt.” I underlined and darkened the words “Kitchen Cabinets,” because the whole kitchen cabinet industry in Nappanee began with the Nappanee Furniture Co. making kitchen cabinets as early as 1898. The Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. had the idea for kitchen cabinets from the early production from the Nappanee Furniture Co. We owe a big debt of gratitude to Albert and Frank Mutschler for being the designers that developed the kitchen cabinets at the Nappanee Furniture Co.

The specifics of this receipt are for one #8 K. C. (kitchen cabinet)  at a cost of $3.50 with an additional charge for “Packing singly” at .10, for a total charge of $3.60 for this cabinet. Here is a catalog picture of the #8 cabinet. Sold to one J. W. Richcreek, Mt. Vernon, Ohio. As a side bar, I recently was able to purchase a No 6 Cabinet at auction for display in the Coppes Kitchen Cabinet Museum.

Immediately, my mind is wondering how in the world could this have happened in 1903? How did J. W. Richcreek know of this kitchen cabinet made by the Nappanee Furniture Co. and think he could order one sent to his home in Mt. Vernon, Ohio? This is apparently what was attempted,  BUT, as they say, there is more. At the bottom of the receipt in pencil writing is this note:  “3/20/03 ordered goods returned all charges to follow” Apparently J. W. Richcreek did not like the # 8 kitchen cabinet and sent it back to the factory. The train freight charge for the return was .89 cents.  It is possible that the Nappanee Furniture Co. was advertising in a periodical that reached Mt. Vernon, Ohio, or there could have been salesmen working the countryside, and one of these people sold the cabinet to J. W. Richcreek. In 2020 we are likely to never know the real story, but I would like to know.