Hoosier cabinets were more than just a kitchen cabinet – they were a must-have in most homes. The cabinets not only stored kitchen staples like flour and sugar, they also held workable utensils inside. The Hoosier cabinet wasn’t just for storage though, it usually functioned as the central workplace for the homemaker.
HOOSIER CABINET HISTORY
The first Hoosier-style cabinet was made by a furniture manufacturing company named Sellers in 1898 in Elwood, Indiana. Sellers later moved to New Castle. Between 1898 and 1949 there were several dozen manufacturers of Hoosier-style cabinets. One of the manufacturers was the Hoosier Manufacturing Company of Albany, Indiana.
After a fire, they moved to New Castle and at the height of production were making nearly 700 cabinets per day. Many contribute the name of the cabinet to this company, while others contend it is named after the nickname for Indiana, as that is where most of the cabinets were manufactured.
The typical Hoosier cabinet had a large base, sometimes on casters, with a pull out work surface and several drawers. The top was narrower and had several cabinets and drawers and usually one compartment had a roll-top or tambour.
The cabinets were equipped with various racks and hardware to hold and organize spices and other staples. A built-in flour sifter was standard on most models in addition to a coffee canister, salt box, spice jars, meat grinder, and more. Some later models even held a drop down ironing board.
Woodworkers today are restoring these old cabinets and building new cabinets after the Hoosier style.
Van Dyke’s offers a wide selection of Hoosier cabinet accessories including hinges, casters, tambours, glass jars, cabinet latches, knobs, and more for those who are restoring or rebuilding these pieces of Americana.