Monday, January 07, 2008

The Hoosier

Do you share my fascination with the Hoosier? I was first introduced to them and what they are a few years back when I was visiting my friend, Hazel, on her farm. We went to drop something off at her neighbor's, and while there stopped for awhile to chat. In the course of our conversation the neighbor took us into her barn and showed us three beautiful oak Hoosier's that had been in her family for many years. She had remodeled her home and didn't have room for them inside the house, but did cherish and treasure them in their storage place. She planned to 'some day' find a special place for them or pass them along to her children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, a short time later her barn burned down and the beautiful Hoosiers with it.

Eighty to a hundred years ago built-in kitchen cabinets were mostly unheard of. Instead kitchen tables or a special built in shelf were used, although every 'modern' homemaker desired an efficient and beautiful "Hoosier" cabinet in her kitchen. This kitchen center was efficient, convenient, and contained many labor-saving features. It was usually adapted from an existing piece of furniture, the baker's cabinet, and provided storage and working space for the homemaker. Generally a Hoosier cabinet consists of three parts. The base piece usually had one large cupboard with a shelf that slides out and several drawers on the other side. The top section was narrower and had several compartments designed to store specific items. The countertop between was the work area and usually had drawers below it for easy storage of utensils. It was not unusual that compartments designed specifically as flour bins, sugar bins, tin bread drawers, and spice jars are incorporated into the Hoosier design. Hoosier's were named after the Hoosier Manufacturing Company of New Castle, Indiana, where they were first made. They remained popular until the 1940's when built-in kitchen cabinets became the rage.

Now the Hoosier is a desired collectors item and makes a beautiful addition to the kitchen of anyone fortunate enough to have one. Thank you to my friend Paula, for allowing me to take pictures of the beautiful Hoosier's in her shop!


  1. Anonymous3:36 AM

    Good morning,
    I read this blog on Hoosier cabinets and I was immediately transported back to my Grandmama's kitchen. My grandmama never had much in the way of material things. She lived in a 4 room house. A livingroom, kitchen and 2 bedrooms, and an outhouse. I remember the old coal stove that heated their was only put up in the cold months. I also remember that we were not allowed to play on the coal pile..for obvious reasons. The most wonderful thing about grandmama was her little kitchen. Whenever we came for a visit she would cook a big meal. I can still remember her going to Hoosier cabinet and getting out her supplies for the meal. I can still her the sound of the forks and spoons clanging together when she opened the drawers to retrieve them. I can actually smell the roast as it was cooking. :)
    My mom now has the Hoosier and it is to come to me when she passes on. Thank you for transporting me back to a very special time in my childhood.

  2. Anonymous9:04 AM

    I want one so bad. My mamaw had one and id love to have hers.

  3. Anonymous1:36 PM

    We lived in a rent house about 12 years ago that had a metal hoosier cabinet built into the kitchen area. Oh how I miss that piece.

  4. My husband's grandmother had a large one in her Indiana kitchen, where she rolled out dough and kept all her baking equipment. It was white with drawers on the bottom and pierced-tin coverings on the top doors. When he was little, my husband used to stand on a stool in front of it to cut dough into noodles. It stayed in the same spot for over 60 years, until the house was sold in 2003.

  5. I love the old hoosier cabinets. Coming from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, I've seen quite a few at auctions. I would love to have one in my kitchen!
    Donna :)

  6. I have always loved the Hoosier cabinets. I wanted one for years and finally found one I settled for. It wasn't exactly what I wanted but was okay. I used it for my tole painting cabinet, keeping my supplies in it. I even painted strawberries on the doors! I sold it several years ago when we redecorated and my husband didn't want to keep it. He doesn't like antiques - he thinks they are "too old!" Well, aren't they supposed to be??? LOL!


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