Antique Hoosier Cabinets

Ashwini Kulkarni Sule Oct 28, 2018
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Hoosier cabinets were very popular in the early 20th century. The name 'Hoosier' was derived from the name of a company in Indiana. Today, they are highly sought-after as antique furniture. Let's see the features and current value of these cabinets.
The concept of a 'convenient kitchen' evolved in the early 20th century in Europe and America. People began moving towards cities, living in small houses or cottages with small kitchens. The small kitchens made it impossible to have a separate pantry or storage area. So, housewives greatly felt the need for a convenient storage to store and organize things.
Sensing this need, The Hoosier Manufacturing Co. came up with the idea of kitchen cabinets, commonly known as the 'Hoosier Cabinets', in 1898. They became an instant hit as they could be easily fitted in the kitchen and could also store a variety of things. 


Hoosier cabinets were wooden, made from oak or pine wood, and were 2 ft deep, 4 ft wide, and 6 ft high. They had three main sections: upper, lower, and the middle pull-out work space. The upper section comprised several small compartments with doors. It had a larger compartment at the bottom with a roll-top or tambour.
The upper and lower sections were connected together by metal channels, upon which the pull-out work space rested. The pull-out work space could be used as a cutting board or a sliding counter top. The lower section had one large compartment on one side and several smaller ones on the other.
These cabinets had several utilities, like drawers to store utensils, and shelves to arrange dishes. They also had racks to store tins and organize spices. Other facilities that came with the cabinets were flour bin sifters and a tin hopper that could be used without removing it from the shelf.
Glassware manufacturers produced a special range of glassware like coffee and tea canisters, salt boxes, and spice jars specially for these cabinets. There was an inbuilt coffee bean grinder and a bread-bin too.
Though the cabinets were manufactured in plain wood, the design was compact, and the quality was such that they could be used for years. The design of these cabinets underwent changes to complement the contemporary kitchen trends.
The later versions of these cabinets were more sophisticated and sported a fancy look. Many manufacturers even offered a matching set of containers and jars to go with them.
Thus, Hoosier cabinets soon became a necessity for almost every house in America. They used to be purchased by placing an order in the Sears catalog, and they would mostly be delivered by railroad.

Current Value

Today, these cabinets are considered as antique pieces of kitchen furnishings. Even the matching containers fetch a very good price. They have a great demand in the antique market from people who wish to decorate their homes in a Victorian-style. They can be found in antique shops in parts of Texas and the Midwest.
Though Hoosier cabinets have become extremely rare and expensive, antique aficionados go to any extent to get that authentic piece of Hoosier furniture. Those who have inherited these classic cabinets and are looking for accessories or replacements for hardware parts, can order them from websites that deal in antiques.
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