1905 Hoosier Ad (above from http://tennessee.inetgiant.com/nashville/addetails/hoosier-cabinet-s-springfield/13379535)- shows accessories and how the Hoosier was used
What exactly is a Hoosier cabinet? I love the term “a culinary work-station”. It 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. A true modern American innovation of the turn-of-the century.
The Hoosier takes the design idea from what was known as a baker’s cabinet.
The basic wood piece has an upper and lower cabinet. These had closing cupboards and drawers for storage. There were often “possum belly” drawers to hold flour and sugar. These drawers would be of tin to protect the contents from pests.
The lower section usually had a waist height pull out cutting or pastry board. The counter top was first made of wood, and then metal (zinc, aluminum or porcelain).
The most fantastic thing are the accessories. Flour sifters, bread drawers lined with enamel, bread boards, storage containers, different racks and hooks, salt and peppers, ironing boards and broom closets.
Hoosier also used glass from Sneath Glass Company to make jars. The earlier glass canisters were squarer in shape. During the early 1920s the shapes became more rounded. As time went on more additions were made to make the cabinet more efficient. Ironing boards, umbrella stands and other additions were created as the manufacturers’ imaginations soared.
Once the Hoosier cabinet took off the company built over four million cabinets between 1900 and 1940. Other companies started building their own styles and many were being home made by cabinet makers.
Who made them doesn’t matter, they all have been termed as “The Hoosier Cabinet”.