What is a Hoosier Cabinet? (And How To Clean Old Hoosier Cabinet?)

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What makes it a Hoosier cabinet?

The term “Hoosier Cabinet” refers to the freestanding kitchen cabinets that were manufactured by Hoosier Manufacturing Company as well as other companies in the early 1900s. Most of these manufacturers were situated in Hoosier State (Indiana).

Hoosier cabinets are distinguished by special features such as pot and pan racks, spice jars, tin bread drawers, sugar bins, large flour bins, porcelain work areas, and many other features for the efficient, modern kitchen.

Hoosier cabinets are so named because they were originally produced in Indiana, though they were also made in Michigan and other states. They were made from poplar and oak, and most had metal hinges.

These cabinets are very sturdy, with drawers that can hold up to 20 pounds. A typical Hoosier cabinet measures 18 inches deep and 24 inches wide, with a height of 30 inches.

The top drawer is usually deeper than the others, with dimensions of approximately 3 feet long by 15 inches deep by 6 inches high.

The lower drawers have similar dimensions but are shorter in length, which allows for more storage space for smaller items like pots and pans or silverware. The top drawer has space for larger items such as serving dishes or glassware.

The Hoosier cabinet became an icon of Indiana’s manufacturing industry and its popularity has spread across the country. The name “Hoosier cabinet” comes from this tradition of marking cabinets with their place of origin: “made in Indiana.”

How can you tell a real Hoosier cabinet?

Hoosier cabinets were made in Indiana and have become a symbol of pride for the state. But how can you tell if your new cabinet is really from Indiana?

The first step is to look at the back paneling.

Real Hoosier cabinets will have a stamp applied to the back paneling that says “Made in Indiana.” In some cases, there will also be other markings like “Hoosier Cabinet Co.” or “Hoosier Cabinet Co. Staunton.” If you see these markings on your cabinet, then it’s definitely a real Hoosier cabinet!

Hoosier cabinets were designed to be built by anyone, anywhere. In fact, they were made of simple materials that could be found locally.

The biggest difference between a real Hoosier cabinet and a knockoff is in the construction of the drawers. Real Hoosiers have square-cut dovetails at the corners of the drawers, while most knockoffs use butt joints which are not as strong or durable.

Real Hoosier cabinets are also made from solid wood and do not contain veneer or plywood panels like many imitations do.

Another clue is the thickness of your cabinet’s sides, top and bottom boards. The thicker these pieces are, the more likely they are to be authentic — at least 1 inch thick on all sides is ideal but less than that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t real.

What do you store in a Hoosier cabinet?

Hoosier cabinets are usually found in kitchens or dining rooms, but they can be used in any room where you need extra storage space. Many homeowners have a Hoosier cabinet near their front door to hold keys and other items that are used frequently.

The most common use for Hoosier cabinets is storing food. You can buy specially made baskets and containers that fit perfectly into the drawers, or you can use whatever you have on hand.

If you like having everything within reach when cooking, this is an ideal way to keep things organized and easy to find.

  • Dishes – If you have lots of dishes that need storage, a Hoosier cabinet is ideal. The open shelves will allow you to store all of your different plates, bowls and cups without having to worry about them getting scratched or broken.
  • Glassware – Glassware can get very expensive over time if you purchase it at retail stores or online shops. So why not take advantage of the space in your Hoosier cabinet and store all of your glassware there? You’ll be able to save money on replacement pieces later on down the road because you won’t have to buy replacements for broken ones!
  • Small Appliances – Small appliances like coffee makers, blenders and microwaves can be stored in a Hoosier cabinet as well.

Another great use for Hoosier cabinets is as an organizer for your craft supplies. Whether you want to keep all your sewing notions in one place or separate knitting needles from crochet hooks, these cabinets are perfect for keeping everything organized and easy to find when it comes time to start working again!

You can also use these cabinets as storage space in other rooms of the house — some people even turn them into a home bar!

What is the metal drawer in a Hoosier cabinet for?

The metal drawer was originally meant to be a bread drawer. The bread drawer was a very popular option for Hoosier cabinets during the 1920s and 30s.

The bread drawer is a storage compartment at the bottom of the cabinet that can be used to store bread or rolls. It is typically located on the left side of the lower section of the cabinet.

What colors were Hoosier cabinets?

Hoosier cabinets were made in a variety of colors. Early cabinets were often painted green or brown, but later ones were available in many different colors. Most Hoosier cabinets were red, but other colors included black, white, yellow, blue and even orange.

The most common color was red because it was easiest to find paint for the woodwork. It also hid imperfections in the wood well and looked good with the brass hardware.

Early Hoosier cabinets were often painted green or brown because these colors hid flaws better than other colors would have done.

However, by 1915, most Hoosier cabinets had been painted white or cream for several years because these colors allowed people to see imperfections more easily than darker shades did.

Should I paint my Hoosier cabinet?

Hoosier cabinets are a classic, vintage style of cabinet. They were originally used in farmhouses and have since become popular with homeowners who want to add a bit of rustic charm to their kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms.

Hoosier cabinets are made from wood and usually feature a simple design that lacks ornate details. They are usually painted white, but some homeowners prefer to leave them unpainted to show off the natural wood grain and color.

However, painting your Hoosier cabinets is an easy way to give them a fresh new look while also protecting them from moisture damage and insect infestation.

If you have an older cabinet and are just looking to refinish it, painting is a great way to go. If you want to keep it original, sanding it down and applying a new coat of varnish is a good option as well.

However, if you have a newer cabinet that’s still in good condition, there’s really no need to paint it.

There are some people who like the look of painted cabinets and feel they look more modern and fresh when they’re painted but I personally don’t think they look any better than a nicely refinished piece of furniture.

I would say that most people could get away with leaving their Hoosier cabinets alone unless there was something about them that bothered them or made them feel like they needed to be updated somehow.

How To Clean An Old Hoosier Cabinet?

Cleaning any old antique furniture and be a challenge if you don’t know-how. The following video shows you how to clean and restore your Hoosier cabinet…

What Makes Hoosier Cabinets Special?

Hoosier cabinets are regarded as a must-have in the kitchen space. This is because they are not just ordinary cupboards, their provisions for food storage e.g. the spices, sugar, flour, etc. are very impressive.

Not to mention the workable parts inside the cabinet. Hoosier cabinets come with rotating spice carousels, meat grinders, and sifters that really come in handy while preparing meals.

The tabletop surface that slides outwards is another great feature of this cabinet as it provides more work surfaces. Hoosier cabinets were specially designed to handle the entire activity in the kitchen as you can do all the food preparation and will only leave the space when you are ready to cook.

Considering all the features, one can say that the aim of reducing kitchen hustles and saving steps by the Hoosier cabinet manufacturers was perfectly achieved.

Hoosier Cabinets For The Ultimate Kitchens

When Hoosier cabinets were introduced for the first time in the United States, they brought about a revolution of sorts for thousands of cooks all over the country.

This was because; the Hoosier cabinet had all the essentials in one place and for the first time one could get everything within reach all in one place.

Custom-built according to the demands of the modern kitchen, Hoosier cabinets still provide the home chef an easy workspace within the kitchen.

The Materials Used

The typical Hoosier cabinets had a large base with many pull work surfaces and drawers. The top section was narrow, showcasing several cabinet compartments, drawers, and a tambour hood. The majority of these cabinets were manufactured with oak.

However, because of the scarcity of oak in the late 1940s, manufacturers used virtually every type of solid wood that was available. Two or more species of wood were often used in combination to design a single cabinet and most of them were painted to hide the different wood species used.

Are Hoosier Cabinets Relevant Today?

Although Hoosier cabinets are not as popular as they were back in the 1900s, they are still on a demand for elegance. You can find them in museums and even antique dealers would love to have this amazing piece of furniture.

A Hoosier cabinet doesn’t have to be in a rustic farmhouse or a vintage kitchen only. With the right eye for interior design, it can perfectly fit in some of the modern and the sleekest kitchens and leave you amazed with this new transformation around your kitchen space.

Modern Hoosier Cabinets

Modern-day Hoosier cabinets are available in oak wood and with oak wood panels. Sliding shelves that can be adjusted according to the workspace needed and the drawers have smooth-rolling slides enabling high ease of use.

The tin flour bin and the tin sugar bin can also be dismantled in case it is not needed in the modern kitchen.

Contemporary Hoosier cabinets do not have a flour bin or sugar bin, as they are considered cumbersome for cleaning purposes. Some cabinets also do not have separate spice racks.

The baking center which had the flour bin, the sugar bin, and the spice racks have been entirely done away with owing to modern-day kitchen requirements. Cherry or Hickory is also used instead of oak for manufacturing Hoosier cabinets.

How Much Is A Hoosier Cabinet Worth?

The value of your cabinet will depend on what kind of condition it is in and whether or not it still has all of the accessories that come with it such as flour or sugar bins, jars, etc.

You are looking somewhere between $400-$900 for one without the accessories with $400 being the more realistic price and as high as $2000 for one that has everything with it, however more realistically around the $900 price range. You can try and get your Hoosier valued online by submitting photos and descriptions at places like JustAnswer.

Where To Buy A Hoosier Cabinet?

If you are wondering where to buy a Hoosier cabinet, then you should keep in mind that they are hard to come by.

That being said, you can try your luck on some online sites like Dutch CraftersHouzz, eBay, and Craigslist which have a variety to choose from. Amazon seems to have plenty of decorating products and spare parts for Hoosier cabinets but no actual cabinets.


The Bottom Line

Hoosier cabinets are not just an inspiration for new varieties in kitchen furniture, the reproductions of these amazing cabinets are cherished in many contemporary homes.

Their sheer attractiveness and eccentricity have earned them popularity even in the modern era.

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