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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

HOOSIER STYLE CABINETS

This is a true Hoosier cabinet produced by the Hoosier Manufacturing Co of New Castle, Indiana. The reason I tell you this is because a real Hoosier cabinet is usually higher priced and desired over all the copy/similar type kitchen cabinets of the time. For most the only way to know the difference is if the cabinet still maintains the original paper or metal tag.

 
 
Also did you know its predecessor was what is called a Baker's Cabinet, sometimes called possum bottom, because of the rounded bins on the bottom, which held sugar and flour?
 
 
Now for some photos and ad's of hoosier style cabinets. These will show you the many different styles that were developed and available, plus many different sizes including additional cabinets to tie in the mix. 
 






Now for some history.
Loaded with labor and time-saving conveniences, the Hoosier cabinet was among the earliest design innovations of the modern American kitchen. This culinary workstation allowed owners to maintain an efficient and clutter-free kitchen by centralizing utensils, cookware, tools, and ingredients all the while providing a space in which to prepare the meals of the day. The typical Hoosier style cabinet consists of three parts. The base section usually has one large compartment with a slide-out shelf, and several drawers to one side. Generally it sat on small casters. The top portion is shallower and has several smaller compartments with doors, with one of the larger lower compartments having a roll-top or tambour. The top and the bottom are joined by a pair of metal channels which serve as the guide for a sliding counter top, which usually has a pair of shallow drawers underside.
 

A distinctive feature of the true Hoosier cabinet is its accessories. As originally supplied, they were equipped with various racks and other hardware to hold and organize spices and various staples The typical Hoosier cabinet consists of three parts. The base section usually has one large. One particularly distinctive item is the combination flour-bin/sifter, a tin hopper that could be used without having to remove it from the cabinet. A similar sugar bin was also common.
Special glass jars were manufactured to fit the cabinet and its racks. A major manufacturer of the glassware was Sneath Glass Company. Original sets of Hoosier glassware consisted of coffee and tea canisters, a salt box, and four to eight spice jars. Some manufacturers also included a cracker jar. One distinctive form was a cylindrical jar with a ring molded around its center, to allow it to rest in the holes of a metal hanging rack. On the inside of the doors, it was common to have cards with such information as measurement conversions, sample menus, and other household helps.
Houses of the period were frequently not equipped with built-in cabinetry, and the lack of storage space in the kitchen became acute. Hoosier adapted an existing furniture piece, the baker's cabinet, which had a similar structure of a table top with some cabinets above it (and frequently flour bins beneath). By rearranging the parts and taking advantage of (then) modern metal working, they were able to produce a well-organized, compact cabinet which answered the home cook's needs for storage and working space. Hoosier cabinets remained popular into the 1920s, but by that time houses began to be built with more modern kitchens with built-in cabinets and other fixtures.
Beginning around 1899, the first ones were assembled and "built by skilled cabinetmakers." But within a few years, the company standardized parts so they could be replaced and began to manufacture the cabinets on an assembly line. Some of the special features included a sifter mounted on the bottom of the flour bin, places to store potatoes and onions, metal-lined bread drawers, cutlery drawers, spice racks, some of which rotated for easier use, lidded jars for coffee and tea, coffee grinders, and a work table, designed at the optimal height for working while seated. By 1920 the company had made two million Hoosiers and the name became the generic term for the kitchen cabinet.
Caught  between  a market that wanted built-ins and a depression and war that halted the manufacture of consumer goods, the company ceased its business in the early 1940's.



Because these Hoosier Cabinets were so loved by the women of the era many other companies began making their versions.






The time period between 1920 and 1925 was the high water mark for another company with their version the Coppes Napanee Kitchenet.

 
 The “Hoosier” kitchen cabinet was very popular, not only with Coppes, but with several companies in the state of Indiana. Books suggest that as many as 40 different companies were making the “Hoosier” cabinet at the peak of its populiarity. Some of the competition had very similar appearing cabinets and it is difficult to determine the correct mfg. without the proper metal tag. Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co. and Coppes Bros. & Zook used their trademarked metal name tag with the Dutch Girl in the center. "The Dutch Girl" was featured in advertising during this time period.
Here is a list of the companies in the state of Indiana making the Hoosier Cabinet, and hoosier style cabinets.
(a) The “Boone” or “Hoosier” cabinet made by the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of Albany, IN .
(b) The “Kitchen Maid” cabinet made by Wasmuth-Endicott Co. of Andrews, IN.
(c) The “McDougall” by the G.P. McDougall & Son, Indianapolis, IN.
(d) The “Sellers” cabinet by G.I. Sellers & Sons Company, Kokomo, IN.
 
Now some more examples of styles and advertising.
 
1924 Remodel Ad
 

1920's Art Deco style

1920's notice the table/chair companion
 


1917
 



1909
 

1910


1919
 

 
 
 

  



 
 


 
 

 


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5 comments:

  1. Can anybody help me identify this cabinet. It is different from all the pictures I'm seeing. The top cabinet goes all the way to the table top and has glass fronts (one still has it's design). There are two shelves inside. There is the metal guides that connect the top to the bottom. The table top is enamel. The bottom cabinet has a configuration that I haven't seen in any pictures. You have two small drawers on each side with the metal bread drawer in the middle. Then you have two cabinet doors and inside is one shelf. It is on casters. Currently painted white. It has a top decorative piece on the top cabinet, however, it is very plain and only slightly curved on top. I can find no markings, tags etc. I'm getting ready to strip the paint off. The top cabinet shelf area is currently painted kind of brown, but i see that it is red behind it, however I don't know if that was original color or the color someone had painted it. The trim on the enamel table is black so i'm assuming it isn't the red cabinet I've seen pictures of that is similar in drawer layout. Pictures are available.

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  2. Melissa
    From your description it is just another style of "Hoosier style cabinet" of which many many many styles and layouts were made. Without a label or marking you will never know for sure. It is definately a kitchen cabinet, I know this because of the enamel work surface and the metal bread drawer. It is not the style that would have been used in a dinning room. Most of these, the tops didn't come fully to the base, usually a working/storage area between the top and bottom piece but having said that, many also were full cabinet to the base and had wood or glass doors. I know you would rather hear it is this particular brand or that but too many variations were made and by multiple companies, makes it difficult to identify without original paperwork,tag, or marking.

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  3. Sheila I have Seller's Hoosier its marking 274 top & bottom. I'm have a trouble finding the drawer guide on back of drawer. Can you help me out?At least point in the right direction...

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  4. Ever heard of "Home Economist" Hoosier style cabinets? I can find no info! Any help is appreciated.

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  5. This label "Home Economist" was used on some original Hoosier Manufactured Cabinets----any I have seen always had the flour sifter and other goodies included in the cabinet---some hoosier cabinets did not include the extra's inside---here is a defintion, popularized during the 1910s by the Hoosier Manufacturing Company, the cabinet looked like a china hutch on steroids with built-in sifters which held flour and sugar, with a built-in spice rack. An enameled counter slid out to create work space, and pots, pans and bowls were stored in cupboards below. NOW HERE IS WHY THE NAME "HOOSIER ECONOMISTS" was added for a few years---A food mill could be permanently attached to the side, and basic recipe charts developed by Christine Frederick, a pioneering home economist, were affixed to the cabinet doors. The housewife or servant could stand in one place and make a complete meal, stepping back only to bring filled pans to the stove or dirty bowls to the sink — In other words a marketing ploy name for the high end Hoosier Cabinet of that time.
    Hope this helps, most of these tags are long gone so you don't see them on the cabinet often.

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