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