Vintage Kitchen Fittings: The Hoosier Cabinet

Did you grow up with a Hoosier cabinet in your home? We did, and we still have a lot of affection for this old-fashioned predecessor to built-in kitchen cabinets. Click through to read a little more about the Hoosier cabinet and to see a really gorgeous contemporary version of this kitchen classic.
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Hoosier cabinets were an essential piece of kitchen furniture in the early 20th century. They were usually tall cabinets with several compartments up top, which sometimes included a built-in bin and sifter for flour, and then deeper cabinets and drawers on the bottom.

What made them really effective in the kitchen, though, was their slide-out workshelf. The shelf in the center of the cabinet could slide out to add work space. This is still a great idea for small space kitchens: a slide out shelf that you can push back in when you're done chopping vegetables or kneading bread.

Hoosier cabinets were in vogue from about 1900 to about 1920, but right about that time homes began to include built-in countertops and cabinets, so there was much less of a need for the Hoosier. (The Hoosier got its name, incidentally, from the Indiana Hoosier Manufacturing Company, which was among the first to make these cabinets.)

If you don't have a lot of storage in your kitchen, or if you love vintage and antique furniture, you may still have one of these. I grew up in a home with a Hoosier, and it's a fond memory from childhood. Where's the cereal? In the Hoosier. Is there any sugar left? Check in the Hoosier. It held all my mother's baking supplies, and the soup tureen and other seldom-used serving pieces were stashed on top.

Do you have a Hoosier cabinet? The really lovely version pictured just above is from Almost Amish, and their prices for reproduction Hoosiers are quite reasonable. Antique cabinets can also be found easily on Craigslist and eBay.

• Find it! Almost Amish Hoosier Cabinets

Related: Space Saver: Folding Kitchen Island

(Images: Flickr member Teresa Thompson licensed for use under Creative Commons; Almost Amish Hoosier Cabinets)

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