I have always dreamed of owning my very own original Hoosier Cabinet.. I am so happy to announce on a recent trip to Tucson I scored one.. ! It is in pretty good condition needs a few finishing touches to bring it back to its original glory I cannot wait to get on this project. I have the perfect place for it in my Oak Kitchen. So stay tuned, I will be posting updates and photos of my project.. so excited !
From the Hoosier Collectors Corner :
During this season of family gatherings, holiday parties and cookie-making, we should give thanks for the host of modern tools and conveniences that make preparing a meal today (and the cleanup!) no longer as time-consuming as it once was.
Prior to 1900, the inability to hire a cook meant long hours in the kitchen making almost every meal from scratch. Butter had to be churned, breads mixed, kneaded and baked, and since kitchens were usually rather large rooms equipped with little more than a sink, a table, a stove, and one or two cabinets or shelves – most staples were often kept in a separate pantry – preparing a meal entailed a great deal of time and energy wasted walking to and fro.
Billed as an “all-in-one kitchen,” the Hoosier cabinet was an evolutionary leap beyond the simple baker’s cabinets and step-back cupboards it replaced. (Though many companies made Hoosier cabinets, the name derives from the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of Indiana.)
Generally about 4 feet wide by 6 feet high by 2 feet deep, the Hoosier consisted of an enameled or porcelain shelf that could slide out from between the lower, footed cupboard and the shallower upper compartmentalized section. Not only did the shelf provide much needed work space, but all the tools and staples required for producing baked goods and other foods were arranged within easy reach.
Behind the doors of the typical Hoosier was a flour hopper – some could hold up to 50 pounds of flour! – with sifter, a sugar hopper, a salt box, glass coffee and tea canisters, and several glass spice jars. Additional accessories could be stored in a compartment behind a tambour door in the upper section, while various implements and utensils rested in drawers in the lower.
By the turn of the century, cooking was regarded as a “domestic science,” and the Hoosier’s “scientific” approach to helping solve logistical problems in the kitchen made it a hit with housewives. Many a family found the price tag of $50 to $75 for a complete unit – cabinet and all accessories – rather steep, but a genius marketing move created payment plans of a dollar down and a dollar a week that placed millions of Hoosiers in households around the country.
Unfortunately for the Hoosier, the next big thing in kitchens was on the horizon, and by the 1930’s, manufacturers of the free-standing units had begun to lose ground to the built-in cabinets that remain popular to this day.
By Michele Alice
December 08, 2013