Oh the Hoosier…
What self-respecting, antique-loving, old house aficionado doesn’t have a Hooiser… or has pined for one all her/his adult life?
House Crazy Sarah has compiled some photos of these amazing multi-functional beauties for your enjoyment.
Being House Crazy Sarah, she can’t let this opportunity go by without giving you a little history lesson….
The Hoosier cabinet was an incredibly popular kitchen fixture from the 1890’s to the 1930’s. At the height of their popularity, there were more than 250,000 Hoosier cabinets manufactured a year.
A Hoosier cabinet (also known simply as a “Hoosier”) is a type of free standing cupboard that served as a utilitarian workspace.
Most homes in the Victorian era and early 20th century did not have banks of built-in cabinetry like we do nowadays so this necessitated a functional piece of furniture that would fit in among the wash basin, ice box, and wood stove.
So why are they called “Hoosiers”? Are they from Indiana?
Yes, they actually are – sort of.
The Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of New Castle, Indiana, was one of the earliest and largest manufacturers of these cabinets, thus earning the piece of furniture the lovable nickname “Hoosier”.
Hoosier cabinets evolved over the years to include more accessories and innovations that made work in the kitchen, well, fun.
Hoosier cabinets were distinctive because of their many moving parts and accessories. They came equipped with various racks and hardware to hold and organize spices and other common kitchen staples.
One of their most distinctive features was the combination flour-bin/sifter which could be used without having to remove it from the cabinet.
Sugar bins were also common in Hoosiers.
Additional accessories added over the years included specially fitted glass jars, coffee and tea canisters, salt boxes, and spice jars.
Some later Hoosiers (like the one below) even included ironing boards!
Today you can still buy chic imitation cabinets to showcase all your pretties…
But they are not the true workhorses of decades past.
Hoosiers peaked in popularity in the 1920s, and then declined as home builders started including built-in kitchen cabinets and counter tops. Sadly, the Hoosier Manufacturing Company was sold in 1942 and liquidated.
Today, Hoosiers are coveted collector pieces.
Let’s sit back and appreciate the many forms, colors, and iterations of the beloved Hooiser cabinet…