Monday, August 13, 2007

Rick's Hoosier Cabinet

Rick purchased the bottom part of a Hoosier from Carol Burdick in Alfred Station. The cabinet had been in “Farm House,” her parents’ get-away cabin. When CB sold the cabin she sold the furniture in it. Rick purchased the Hoosier in order to use the porcelain table top for his own version of the famous cabinet to be made in oak and ash.

This is what we bought:

In the past several years the term 'Hoosier' cabinet has come to mean any free standing step back cabinet from the early 20th century. These include the ones made by the Hoosier Manufacturing Co as well as all the other Indiana makers. It has also come to mean many different styles of cabinet that were made in many different areas. But, primarily a Hoosier cabinet is one that usually contained a porcelain top, tambour doors, and large refillable flour bins and sifters.

There were several manufactures of Hoosier cabinets but most were located in Indiana. These include:
• Hoosier Manufacturing Co in New Castle Indiana,
• GI Sellers & Sons Company in Kokomo and later Elwood Indiana,
• McDougall Company in Indianapolis and later Frankfort Indiana,
• Coppes Brothers and Zook Inc, in Napanee Indiana.
• Cambell-Smith-Ritchie Company in Lebanon Indiana (Boone County)
• Wilson Cabinet Co in Greencastle Indiana

It's hard to say just how many were actually made to give an idea - the Hoosier Manufacturing Company sold over 300,000 cabinets in 1910 alone. It is believed that there were at least 4 million cabinets sold during the 1910s and 20s. The first cabinets came out about 1898 and reached peak sales about 1925. By the 1930s built-in kitchens caused demand for free standing cabinets to decline. Interestingly, in the last ten years or so freestanding cabinets are again becoming popular in upscale homes.

Prior to these cabinets most kitchens had numerous cabinets, tables, and boxes where baking and cooking supplies were kept. The Hoosier cabinet was introduced as a timesaver and was advertised to cut in half unnecessary kitchen work. Since all the supplies were now located in one cabinet that had its own pull out preparation surface many steps were saved. Hoosier cabinets were also popular due to a unique marketing scheme commonly called "a dollar down and a dollar a week".


Emilie said...

Oh WOW! It's incredibly beautiful. It looks simply amazing. I love the little windows across the top, they'll look even more amazing with the stained glass in there. It's just amazing what you can do, Dad...and the fact that it was all spurred on by just having the counter top area. It's the best looking Hoosier I've ever seen. Can't wait to see it in person at Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I wish that I could be so lucky to find and enamel table top for my deceased mom's hoosier cabinet. I need one 24/25 X 47/48 -- that size is impossible to find. It had been covered with linoleum but I'd like to cover it with that which was original. Any suggestions. I love what you did with that top!!!