Joe for Michael 5260
Re: Deciphering the Mersman Table
Tue Apr 9, 2019 13:33

Michael, I think it's a safe assumption the "confession" was written on the topside of the table brace before the table top, with it's receiving strips of wood, was attached to it.

Here are some additional personal thoughts for consideration:

The writing was added after the centre holes were drilled. You can see this based on the "flow" of writing around the centre hole configuration.

It seems reasonable that this Mersman table was shipped unassembled from the Celina Ohio manufacturing facility to its destination at the Watchung Furniture House in Plainfield, New Jersey. This would be normal practice for furniture manufacturers then as it is today.

This would then mean the table brace would have been shipped loose or perhaps lightly screwed into the wood strips on the underside of the table top. Regardless, it would have had to have been removed prior to assembly. During assembly the table brace is first attached to the pedestal base through the centre hole configuration by screws. The table top is then turned over to allow the base with brace attached, to then mate up with the screw holes drilled into it's wood strips.

Anyway you look at it, and if this table was shipped to Watchung unassembled, it pretty much eliminates anyone at the Mersman factory as a suspect. Why? Because the writing would have been seen before it was shipped from Mersman or after arriving at Watchung. Therefore, the writing may have been done by someone at the Watchung store, or alternately under the auspices of Elmer Bolliard, the ultimate purchaser.

A couple more points to consider here.

Albert Weismann, the owner of the Watchung store was Jewish, so perhaps the NSDAP reference was a means of potentially making trouble for him, by someone of German extraction who worked there.

The above does not address the placement of the holes, which reasonably match up with those in the ransom note symbol, unless these holes were drilled at the Watchung store or their placement is sheer coincidence. If the holes were drilled at Watchung, it could bring into play, the coincidence of Haring's Hand of Hauptmann, with its ruled scale photos of the ransom note holes, having been published just a few miles from where Bolliard lived.

A detailed understanding of the production flow and packaging procedures at the Mersman factory, would be a great thing to have access to here.

  • Deciphering the Mersman TableMichael 5260 for Joe, Tue Apr 9 09:42
    Joe, take a very close look at the photographs of the handwritten confession. Notice the circular stain in the middle of the board and the stain going down the edge of the board. They appear to be... more
    • Re: Deciphering the Mersman Table — Joe for Michael 5260, Tue Apr 9 13:33
      • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableMichael 5260 for Joe, Tue Apr 9 15:31
        Good observations Joe. This brings us to the time of writing. The theory is that this particular Mersman table, to the exclusion of all other Mersman tables, is the one used as a device to punch the... more
        • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableJoe for Michel 5260, Wed Apr 10 08:08
          Good points and very true Michael, the "confession" would have had to have been written after Hauptmann's arrest. Of course this doesn't preclude the possibility that the writing was added years... more
          • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableMichael 5260 for Joe, Wed Apr 10 10:52
            We have to imagine Hauptmann or an accomplice being in a room in 1932 and looking across the room and seeing this Mersman table. Automatically it is known that there are useable holes in the bottom... more
            • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableAnonymous, Wed Apr 10 14:03
              Michael 5260 and Joe have pretty much established how ridiculous this theory on the Mersman table brace confession and hole template is. I would only add (and if this has been previously stated I... more
              • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableMichael, Wed Apr 10 14:53
                Joe - My point was a visit to the Museum was necessary before this show. Without seeing the holes lining up its not as impactful and one has to rely on others for their description of what they saw.... more
                • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableJoe for Michael, Thu Apr 11 13:26
                  Michael, I understand that the holes actually line up although I'd expect there to be a bit of an accuracy factor here, considering the holes in the table brace are larger than those in the ransom... more
                  • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableMichael For Joe, Fri Apr 12 10:12
                    I'd say you would have needed to see it Joe but now that the show has aired its less of a necessity. Yes the holes in the table are "bigger." I've seen the demonstration twice and the holes in the... more
                    • dem holesRichard E Sloan, Mon Apr 15 10:01
                      At first I was thinking that it doesn't matter that the table holes are bigger than those in the ransom notes. It was just a template. Cut nails, which I think we all tend to agree were used to punch ... more
                    • Re: Deciphering the Mersman TableJoe for Michael, Sun Apr 14 11:10
                      Michael, I do understand the physics, optics and the alignment entirely and have from the beginning. But again, this is not something I would travel 500 miles for, so it will have to wait until I'm... more
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