April 2022 Update – Hoproco Toys

The April updates to the History Project featured posts and briefs and images of Hoproco toys – and the Hoproco manufacturing site in Hopewell. The major new documents are transcribed versions of two Hopewell booklets – Healthy, Historic Hopewell from 1897, and 1909 Hopewell New Jersey – now fully readable and searchable.

There also are some fun posts on April Easter bonnet photos and two mystery objects, a shaving mug and an angle tool. Finally, there is a new Hopewell Valley Town References page with a table of over 25 key reference books with historical information on Hopewell Valley places, buildings, and people – most of which are available on this site. (See Site Updates for more.)

By the numbers, we finished the month with 262 files in the Archives, including 126 documents and 136 maps and aerials. The Image Gallery now has 2786 files, and the Aerial Panoramas Collection has 23 images. The Pamphlet Collection has 156 documents, and the Property Reports Collection has 80 documents, with 58 Site Survey reports and 22 Property Briefs. The interactive History Map includes 775 addresses with 102 historic places in Hopewell Borough. Please keep the materials coming!

Hoproco Toys and Burton Avenue

E-Z-Go-Round carousel and box

Hoproco, the Hopewell Products Company, operated from 1923 to 1929 at 18 Burton Avenue in Hopewell, manufacturing metal and wooden mechanical toys and novelties.

We know of only five toys that were manufactured by Hoproco, circa 1925 to 1928. And

Thanks to collectors Larry & Cindi Kianka and David McCandless, plus Mary Briggs and Mary Ellen Hirst Devlin, we now have over 30 photos of all five known products, along with some of the original boxes and promotional product sheets.

== Read the full history brief on Hoproco Tin Toys (1920s) (PDF) ==

== Read the full history brief on 18 Burton Avenue – Stair / Toy Factory (1897) (PDF) ==

== View photos of the toys in the Hoproco Toys album in the Image Gallery ==

HHH 1897 & 1909 Hopewell

Two promotional booklets from over a century agoHealthy, Historic Hopewell from 1897, and 1909 Hopewell New Jersey have now been transcribed into more readable and searchable documents.

Each is over 50 pages, with text plus 40-some photos to “set forth the advantages of Hopewell as a place of residence” – and as a place to start a business.

These provide a wealth of information on local businesses and people – over 120 listings in all – plus over 100 photos of local places and people. They are posted both as the original scans of the newspapers, and as the transcribed and edited documents.

Thanks to Carol Errickson for editing these and other historical materials.

== View the Healthy, Historic Hopewell extracted edition (PDF) ==

== View the 1909 Hopewell New Jersey extracted edition (PDF) ==

Mystery Objects: Shaving Mug and Angle Tool

Thanks to Doug Robbins for sharing two mystery Hopewell artifacts – an optical angle tool, and a shaving mug decorated with a confusing design.

Angle tool
J. M. Ege shaving mug and brush

Thanks to Mary Ellen Hirst Devlin, the tool has been identified as a clinometer (or clisimeter; clisimetre in French) – an instrument used for measuring the angle or elevation of slopes.

The shaving mug personalized with the name of J. M. Ege, and decorated with confusing Masonic symbology that combine combine two Masonic organizations, the Shriners (crescent and scimitar) and the Scottish Rite (double-headed eagle). Exactly why this was done for Ege’s mug is not clear, but the Shriners confirm that this kind of ad-hoc mixing of symbols was not uncommon at the time.

Easter Bonnet Photos

To celebrate the Spring season, here are some fun photos from around 1900 showing the well-dressed Pierson family in Hopewell. Perhaps these are not Easter bonnets, but these folks clearly are having fun with being dressed up, and do have some fine looking headgear.

Carolyn Pierson (Race)
Carolyn Pierson (Race)
Carolyn Pierson (Race)

It’s also interesting to see how unconcerned these folks were about the backgrounds of the photos. They are posing near their home at Blackwood Avenue and Railroad Place in Hopewell, on dirt streets, with railroad cars and factory buildings (and associated equipment) behind them – and not thinking at all about how the heads and figures in the photos interact with the scenes behind them.

Thanks again to Bob Gantz for these photos, and the identifications.

Please contact us if you have – or know of – more images and materials like these that we can share to help illuminate the history of our Hopewell Valley.

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