Have you ever asked what is a Hoosier cabinet and where can I get one? You’ve seen the kitchen feature before, but you didn’t know it had a unique name. A hoosier cabinet is charming, useful, and vintage.
Where did the cabinet come from and how is it different than other kitchen storage units?
Today, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Hoosier cabinets. Most people don’t know where the name Hoosier came from or why this type of cabinet is known as a “Hoosier cabinet.”
What Is A Hoosier Cabinet?
A Hoosier cabinet is offers lower and upper storage. It’s also a countertop and all-in-one piece of kitchen furniture. You can find the cabinets with glass or flat doors, and without doors
Why Were Hoosier Cabinets So Popular?
In the early 1900s, Hoosier cabinets emerged in US kitchens. Despite similar cabinets were popular before then, the term became famous after the Hoosier Manufacturing Company started producing the them.
It’s unknown if the cabinets were named after the company or the the state where they were produced. Indiana is the Hoosier state. Other cabinet manufacturers also made theirs in Indiana, so the term has a broad range.
The cabinets became popular through advertising aimed at the American housewife who wanted a “modern” kitchen. This new cabinet was “dainty” yet useful.
“Your kitchen! – furnished as completely and tastefully as any other room – how can you have it so with little trouble and expense,” an ad suggested. It also states a home-loving woman wants a “dainty, fresh, and inviting” kitchen.
After the ad was published, it went viral. Families across the nation wanted this all-in-one kitchen accessory. Most families could afford the cabinets as this was during the roaring 20s when America was prosperous.
When the Great Depression hit, the cabinets became less popular. Fewer people could afford such when the country could hardly afford flour to feed their families.
Vintage Hoosier Cabinet
Vintage Hoosier cabinets aren’t easily available. When you find one, it’s hard to tell if it’s authentic. Here are a few ways to tell if a Hoosier cabinet is a real.
A Hoosier has three areas. A deep lower cabinet, a workspace, and shallow upper cabinets. If the counter space is wooden, it could still be real. But the most authentic ones had porcelain or enamel counters.
Traditional Hoosier cabinets had drawers. These drawers were lined with tin and were made to store bread. If the tin is still intact, the cabinet is in great condition and probably authentic. While tin may last through the years, other additions are hard to keep.
Most Hoosier cabinets had a flour bin and sifter in the left upper cabinet. It would be difficult to find one with the flour bin still in it, but if you do, keep it. One with the original flour bin is worth a lot.
Measurements And Charts
The original Hoosier cabinets had charts in their doors. They would include measurements, conversions, and have a place to write down what you need. Some even had recipes.
Older cabinets and furniture had date stamps. There should be a stamp with the manufacturer’s name and date. If it’s pre-1940, it’s authentic.
Ask An Appraiser
You can ask an official appraiser if your Hoosier cabinet is real. You can contact someone online and send pictures to them.
Modern Hoosier Cabinet
Although a vintage Hoosier cabinet is ideal, it’s not easy to find one and when you do, it’s hard to find one that is affordable. Luckily, you can get modern Hoosier cabinets that are similar to the traditional ones.
This cabinet comes in four colors. You can get it in white or one of the three wood grains available. The wood grains look more authentic while the white looks more modern. All four are rather alluring.
This Lewisburg is like what you’d see in the early 1900s. It’s narrow but the structure is the same. The vintage feel of the grain that looks distressed adds to the character.
This piece from Alcott Hill has plenty of storage space. If you’re planning on cutting down on standard cabinets in favor of a Hoosier cabinet, this option should suit you. It comes in one color, but white is versatile.
Rosalind Wheeler does an amazing job of picking colors for this cabinet. You can get it in grey or an antique white which is the perfect color for a cabinet like this. The color and structure are similar to the traditional cabinets with porcelain countertops.
If you want a modern take on the Hoosier cabinet, this is a good option. It has the sleek design and contrasts that contemporary interior design favors. The setup is like a vintage Hoosier cabinet.
If glass doors are what attracts you to the Hoosier cabinet, then this one by Red Barrel Studio is perfect for you. The glass cabinets give it a classic look.
Open shelves were not frowned upon for storing flour, sugar, and other baking ingredients. Having a set of labeled jars is adorable. If open shelves draw you in, you’ll like this cabinet style.
This Breaktime cabinet isn’t traditional, but it takes the Hoosier cabinet to the 21st century. There is space for a mini-fridge beneath and borders on the line of a kitchenette cabinet. It’s ideal for dorms and studio apartments. A Hoosier cabinet with a metal top are becoming popular.
Last on the list is the Cierrah cabinet. Although the cabinet doors are flat and the look is modern, there is a vintage flair to this cabinet that cannot be ignored. It is the ideal middle ground cabinet.
Hoosier Cabinet Alternatives
If you can’t find a Hoosier cabinet set, there are alternatives that work as well and offer the same character. Since new manufactures can’t use the term “Hoosier,” as many use these words instead.
A kitchen hutch is like a Hoosier cabinet. Hutches are furniture for any room, sometimes appearing as a vanity. The hutch and Hoosier cabinet have become one and the same.
Before Hoosier cabinets, there were hutches. The word is also more forgiving as you’re not talking about a brand or an era. It is a cabinet of a certain style that can be used anywhere.
Pie safes are seen in diners that display pies. They look like wood cabinets and have large glass panels. Pie safes were traditionally used to store pies, meats, or other perishables. They add a diner or bakery feel to your kitchen.
Because pie safes date back to German immigrants in the US, the first pie safes were made by the Amish. The Pennsylvania Dutch community makes pie safes to this day, and they are the few remaining authentic pie safes in the country.
A china cabinet has a solid bottom, often with doors, and a glass top. The glass top displays china and other knick-knacks. Homes with antiques use these cabinets to keep their valuable items safe.
China cabinets are not from China. Their original purpose was to display china dishes. Porcelain is fragile, so people wanted a special storage place where they could showcase their china collection.
A Welsh dresser is like a china cabinet but has optional glass. The top is open shelving, separating it from the traditional Hoosier cabinet. A china hutch is a Welsh dresser.
The Welsh dresser is from Wales, hence the name. The cabinets were popular throughout Europe, but Wales took on the term that we use to this day. They are kitchen cabinets, but can be used as wardrobe and general storage units.
Kitchen Buffet Combo
A kitchen buffet is the bottom part of a Hoosier cabinet. To turn one into a Hoosier cabinet, you just need to add a top cabinet. You can even have one converted and customized, which is much cheaper than buying a Hoosier cabinet outright.
If you have someone build onto the buffet, you can save on material costs. All you need are small upper cabinets and something to secure them to the bottom cabinets. For cheaper version, use open shelving.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How Difficult Is Hoosier Cabinet Restoration?
If you have an original Hoosier cabinet in need of restoration, it will require work and a budget. In the long-run, you’ll be glad you made the effort. Hoosier cabinets are antiques. The cabinets are a piece of US history and worthy of preservation.
Before you begin, figure out if your Hoosier cabinet is worth restoring. The cabinets were factory painted. At some point, an owner would repaint their cabinets. If your Hoosier was factory painted, do not strip the paint. The wood used to make the cabinets was of low quality. If you strip the paint, you’ll damage the wood.
Can A Hoosier Cabinet Fit In A Tiny Home?
Mini-Hoosier cabinets are available for tiny homes. You can have a cabinet tailor made for your tiny home. If you have an original cabinet, it will depend on your tiny home’s layout. It will either fit, or it won’t.
Do They Make 3D Printable Hoosier Cabinets?
Yes, they do. And not only are they available, but 3D printable Hoosier cabinets are cheap. If you’re looking for a fun DIY project, then making a Hoosier cabinet would be a fun thing to do.
Hoosier Cabinet Conclusion
The Hoosier cabinet is America’s contribution to kitchen design and decor. The cabinet design changed they way Americans lived. If you have an original Hoosier, preserve it. An original cabinet in great condition is worth $2,000 among furniture and antique collectors.
If you’re in the market for a new Hoosier cabinet. don’t be afraid to experiment. The cabinets are traditional, but that doesn’t mean their appearance has to follow formal standards.