Hoosier cabinets were manufactured in the early 19th century and one of the major manufacturers was known as Hoosier manufacturing company. That is the same period when Americana built most of the houses in the history. Since most of the homes didn’t have inbuilt kitchen cabinets, the Hoosier cabinet became more popular. It was a kitchen cabinet with storage and a working space enough to enable a cook to complete all the food preparation without moving until it was time to cook the meals.
The Hoosier manufacturing company believed in advertising and with time the Hoosier cabinets became so popular and other manufacturers and sellers joined this booming business especially from 1900 to 1930. During that time, Hoosier manufacturing company had sold 2 million cabinets. However, their popularity declined when people started building their houses with in-build cabinets. Selling them became quite hard and the main two manufacturers, that is Hoosier manufacturing and G.I Sellers and sons gave up the hard fight and closed their businesses of manufacturing Hoosier cabinets in 1942 and 1950 respectively.
What is a Hoosier cabinet
A Hoosier kitchen cabinet is a self-stand kitchen cabinet basically considered as an improved version of baker’s cabinet. The only difference between the Hoosier cabinet and the baker’s cabinet is that the Hoosier cabinet has a pull-out workspace and storage for all the needs of a cook. The Hoosier cabinets serve as a good workstation when you are preparing meals because all the materials you need are in one place.
The base section is comprised of one large compartment with the slide-out shelf that is covered in metal. This metal provides more workspace. There are also several drawers on one side for storage. Then there is the top portion that comes in shallower with several smaller compartments with doors. Most of Hoosier cabinets are about 48 inches wide by 22 inches deep by 72 inches high. They also offer additional counter space of about 40 inches, something that was not available in a standard kitchen in the early 20th century.
One distinctive feature of the Hoosier cabinets is that they have many moving parts and accessories. Initially, they were supplied readily equipped with various racks and other hardware for holding and organizing the spices and the various staples.
In fact, the Hoosier cabinet had provisions of storing the kitchen staples such as flour and they could be used without any need of removing them from the cabinet. There was also a similar provision for storing the sugar bin. As time went by, other accessories and innovations were added. The original sets of Hoosier glassware were also manufactured and they consisted of coffee and tea canisters, a salt box and four to eight spice jars. Other manufacturers included a cracker jar as well.
There were special glass jars that were manufactured to fit this particular cabinet and its racks. Innovations that were added later included the glassware, ant-proof casters, ironing boards and even the cards with reminders for grocery shopping and tips for meal planning among other features.
Although these iconic pieces of furniture were very popular in the past, they are also in quite good demand currently. Wondering what you would need them for? By the time you go through with this article, you won’t only discover why you need one in your kitchen now but hopefully, all your questions regarding Hoosier cabinets will have been answered exhaustively.
Importance of a Hoosier cabinet
Millions of these Hoosier cabinets were sold in Indiana where the first manufacturers were based. Even the other big producers of this type of cabinets called them the Hoosier cabinets hence their current name. Most probably if you check your grandma’s kitchen today you are most likely to see a Hoosier cabinet especially if she lives in Indiana. The most impressive feature of this type of a cabinet is the way they simplified life around the kitchen space.
In the mid-1930s, their popularity had started to decline and they were regarded as old-fashioned. This is because the new standard was having inbuilt cabinets. However, there came collectors who began to pine and pay a handful for the antique Hoosier cabinets.
What makes the Hoosier cabinets more special?
Most probably one may wonder why the Hoosier cabinets regarded as a must have in the kitchen space. They are not just simple cupboards at all, their provisions for food storage such as the flour, sugar and the spices are very impressive not forgetting the workable parts inside the cabinet. They come with sifters, meat grinders and rotating spice carousels which really came in handy while preparing your meals.
Another impressive feature is the table top surface which slides outwards thus providing more work surface. It would be right to say that the Hoosier cabinets were specifically manufactured to handle the entire bustle in the kitchen because you are able to do all the food preparation and you will only leave the space while you are ready to cook your meals.
Considering all these features, the Hoosier cabinet manufacturers aim of saving steps and reducing kitchen hustles was perfectly achieved. Although this varies with the manufacturers most Hoosier cabinets came with household advice such as cooking tips and stain removal sips. The Hoosier cabinets specifically manufactured by Hoosier manufacturing company had a clock on the door and a food timer card just to make sure your work in the kitchen is fully simplified.
Materials used to make Hoosier cabinet
Hoosier cabinets are basically made of hardwood with oak. Due to the oak’s demand and popularity, it became scarce and expensive and this let to manufacturers settling for whatever type of wood they lay their hands on. It was not unheard of to see a Hoosier cabinet made of three or four different wood types and in return, they painted then to hide the different types of materials used.
Porcelain was mostly used on the countertops or the workstation since they were considered to offer an easy clean after all the chopping and preparing for the meals. That is why most people associate the Hoosier cabinets with porcelain. Workspaces were also made of other materials such as wood or zinc. Actually, it really came in hand for those houses that didn’t have a large kitchen space and they were considered a necessity.
Hoosier cabinet in recent times
Although they are not as popular as they were back in the early 20th century, they are still on a demand for elegance. You will spot a number of them in museums and even the antique dealers would not hesitate to have this iconic piece of furniture. An opportunity to sell the Hoosier cabinet is available to those nostalgic homeowners who require a part of history in their modern homes.
Some of them will consider buying a vintage Hoosier cabinet as it is, others will consider buying it only after a thorough polish by a restoration expert to fit perfectly in their homes. There are also other homeowners who are willing to go to great lengths to ensure they have a Hoosier cabinet that looks exactly like the ones in the 19th century. That must be crazy, right? The only difference is that these homeowners want it to have all the modern conveniences offered by the kitchens today. In fact, their aim is to mix and match to come up with a rare piece of furniture.
These amazing pieces of furniture don’t have to be in a vintage kitchen or a rustic farmhouse only. With the right eye for interior design, they can perfectly fit in some of the sleekest and modern kitchen and leave you impressed with the new transformation around your kitchen space. If you are convinced and are ready to own yours today, be ready to part with $1000 or more to acquire yourself a relatively good Hoosier cabinet from the current sellers.
More so, don’t be surprised to see a well-kept antique Hoosier cabinet selling for several thousand dollars. You don’t have to worry if this is not you since it is also possible to find a Hoosier cabinet for sale for a few hundred dollars. You just need to do your research and know where to source yours from.
If you are the type that is likely to do something different to your modern day kitchen, then you have a perfect solution. The Hoosier cabinet is not meant to just sit in the museums alone, you can make them useful in your kitchen. If paired correctly with the modern kitchen décor, it will come up to be very unique and beautiful.
The bottom line
Hoosier cabinets are more than inspiration for new varieties of kitchen furniture. The recent reproductions of these cabinets are cherished in many modern homes. Their sheer eccentricity and their attractiveness have earned them popularity even in the modern world. Most people prefer a kitchen with modern conveniences but blend well with the older house and antiques. If you are wondering where to purchase a Hoosier cabinet, it is important to note that the Hoosier cabinets are hard to get except by chance. Having said that, you can try your luck on some online sites like Craigslist, eBay and Houzz which have a variety to choose from.