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Sheet Metal Receipts for Hoosier Cabinet Work Surfaces

Bill Warner
August 06, 2020
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Hello, welcome to Bill’s History Corner. This is the place where I talk about the history of the Coppes Bros. Company or the Coppes Bros. & Zook Co. or the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. This company changed their name when personnel joined or left the company. If you have been following along on this journey, I would think you have a good understanding of that process. I have talked about it several times. I’m still working from home, attempting to keep my family safe. I hope you are safe also.

Today, I have on my History Detective Hat as I attempt to explain some more of the company receipts that we have uncovered. In this most recent box we have dug into, we have found 18 receipts from the National Sheet Metal Co. of Peru, Illinois. All the receipts are from 1909-1911. This company supplied the “Sheet Zinc” metalwork surface that C,Z & M Co. put on the kitchen cabinets. It still amazes me the sheer volume of material that the company needed to make the cabinets that they produced.

As you can see from this company receipt above, the sheet metal was shipped by the case. The number of sheets of zinc in the cases is unknown for most of the orders. That is only because the paperwork was not kept with each receipt. We have one receipt that does have all the paperwork. The receipt dated 2/28/10 is for 3 cases of metal in three different sizes. This order weighted 1327 pounds before packaging and 1497 pounds when it reached the Baltimore & Ohio railroad company freight office. The cost of the RR freight was  $2.94. Seems very inexpensive to me for 1497 pounds of freight.

The paper above is from the company checking or inspection team. Every item that was shipped to the company was inspected, counted, and recorded so there would be an accurate record of the purchases. On this inspection record, you can see the number of sheets in each case (79, 174, & 83) the gauge of the metal (thickness) the weight of the case and the size of the pieces of metal. Commonly called ZINC, the National sheet Metal Co. called this material “N Z” or “Nicolene”. The C,Z & M Co. purchased this material the three common sizes, which fit the cabinets produced during that time. Also, it seems obvious the company needed machines that could fold (bend) the metal on each side to fit over a wooden subframe. Later the company would change to using a porcelain work surface metal top.

If I use my calculator, I think I can estimate the number of sheets of metal ordered during this time. Need to remember we likely do not have all the receipts from this company during this time. The 18 receipts that we do have were for 40 cases of sheet metal, the total weight for the 40 cases was 18,681 pounds. Using the one receipt that counted the number of sheets in a case, I can find the average weight per sheet for the different sizes.  The average weight per sheet is approx. 4 pounds. When I divide 18,681 total pounds shipped by 4 pounds per sheet, the number of sheets ordered in this time in approx. 4670 sheets of zinc. It is an easy conclusion to jump to that the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. produced approx. 4670 of the kitchen cabinets during these three years. (1909-1911)

Thanks for visiting Bill’s History Corner, hope to see you again soon.