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Coppes our history

National Enameling

Bill Warner
September 24, 2020
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Welcome to Bill’s History Corner. Part of my job as Historian is to find out things and answer questions. Questions usually include the words how, why, who, & when something happened. Typical questions are,

“When did the Coppes Bros. or Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. or the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. begin making kitchen cabinets?”

“How many Kitchen Cabinets did Coppes make compared to the huge amount the Hoosier Mfg. Co. is reported to have made?”

One question I think I can answer with this History Corner is, “when and from whom did Coppes purchase enamelware that was supplied with cabinets as premiums or free gifts when purchasing a Coppes Napanee Cabinet?”

Selling Kitchen Cabinets in 1903-1925 was a highly completive undertaking. Cabinets were sold at that time through existing furniture stores. Each Hoosier Cabinet company that was attempting to sell cabinets needed a gimmick to get people into the stores and purchase a new kitchen cabinet. Most all cabinet companies went with the sale price of one dollar down and one dollar a week. When one company started this method, other companies needed to do the same in order to keep up.

Coppes (and other companies) also gave items with the purchase of any cabinet. Sets of dishes, sets of brushes, pots & Pans, Knife sets, Food, and enamelware, were given as gifts when a cabinet purchase was made. Often a hand mixer or a glass measuring cup with the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler, Napanee Dutch Kitchenet name was given as a gift just for coming into the store and looking at a Dutch Kitchenet. I guess the thinking was “get people into the store and see a Dutch Kitchenet and they will be an easy sell.”

This brings me to the point of this History Corner. We found receipts for enamelware in the old boxes of receipts we have been going through. Around 1902-12 Coppes, Zook & Mutschler co. was giving enamelware as a prize when the purchase of a Dutch Kitchenet was made. I am sure the cost of the enamelware was added to the price of the cabinet, but it was advertised as a gift. Below is a scan of the 1912 No. 1550 cabinet with the enamelware displayed. (clock, knife set, scales & food grinder also)

The NATIONAL ENAMELING & STAMPING CO., from Milwaukee, Wis. was the company receipt we found. In the receipt dated 1/6/11 this order was for 30 doz. # 33 COOKEY (sic) CUTTERS; 30 Doz?  # 53 1/2 D N? (what was this); and 30 Doz?  # 30 MEAS CUPS. While this receipt is unclear as to the quantity of items, it does give a clue  when it tells the weight of the order.

170 LBS of “COOKEY CUTTERS” and “MEAS CUPS” means a huge number of small light weight items in the order. While I have seen enamel measuring cups in antique stores, I do not think there is any way to identify these cups as the ones given by the C, Z & M co. However, I think I will pick up the next enamel cups I find and study then more closely.

The next receipt I want to show you is also from the National Enameling & Stamping co. Dated May 4, 1911. This order is for “1- Venetian Ware Asst” at a cost of $2.80 + $1.00 shipping. I can only guess as to what this order was. My guess is the C,Z & M Co. was searching for other pieces of enamelware that may work as prizes when a purchase of a Dutch Kitchenet was made.