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Does anyone have a Hoosier cabinet?

bpath Oh Sophie
August 11, 2019

I have a spot in my kitchen where I think a Hoosier cabinet would be perfect...except it is narrower than most such pieces. It‘s next to my tiny pantry, which clearly started out as a broom closet (I can tell from the old holes and paint marks). I dream of either eliminating the pantry closet and replacing with a Hoosier cabinet, or extending the pantry to hold more than a bag of rice and a couple cans of diced tomatoes. You think I jest? Well, okay, 2 bags of rice. And a box of spaghetti.


But while I dream, does anyone have a Hoosier cabinet? Do you love it? Hate it? Tolerate it because, hey, it’s a kitchen classic and suits your aesthetic? I also have The enameled-topped table that my dad remembers eating his oatmeal at as a boy, in the 20s and 30s, though I need to clean it up and incorporate it into my house. That’s kind of my aesthetic.

Comments (27)

  • justerrilynn

    I don’t have one but will greedily be watching your post. I would love to see more personalized kitchens come into vogue. I would even like to see those no longer loved (lately) but special type China Cabinets somehow worked into a kitchen design. After all it is storage for dishes. I have all these ideas just floating around in my head.

  • writersblock (9b/10a)

    I investigated this several years ago for a friend who was working with a tiny 20's kitchen. Most important advice I got was that the worktop level is too low for most people nowadays and the suggestion was to swap in larger castors on the feet.


    They did come in a lot of different sizes, especially later on, like in the 1930s, so you might be able to find a narrow one from that era. Be aware that not all of them were wood-finished to begin with. It just kills me when I see a cool old Hoosier that's been stripped when even the back of it is stenciled that it should be, say, ivory and green.


    The widest ones could sure hold a lot of stuff, though. 1920s era Sellers ad:



    Also be aware that the big bins for flour and such have lead in them--the tin from back then did.

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  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Based on where I’d put it, I don’t think I’d use it as a work surface. As for the bins, I think I’d (gasp) remove them and stick with my big glass pickle jars.

  • gsciencechick

    I have one, and it's a good one. It is from my townhouse when I was single, and I used it in my kitchen since the space was small and I didn't have a lot of cabinetry. Right now it is in our guest BR and I use it for storing holiday dishes and for guest bed linens. I have toyed with the idea of selling it (too bad you are not closer!) because I feel it could use a better home, and since I am not moving or getting a mountain or lake cabin anytime soon.


    Mine is a Sellers brand. The main brands are Hoosier, Sellers, and something like Napanee. There was a man in my town that meticulously restored Hoosier cabinets and sold them on eBay, etc., so this guy had a basement full of them. I went with some friends because one of the ladies wanted one, and then i wound up buying one, too. It was not cheap and I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 for it back in early 2000's. It has a functional and working flour bin and sifter, though I've never used it. The enamel top is original and he just turned it around to get the pristine side of it. The roll top works great. It's a buttercreme color with green doors.


    There are all kinds of colors and sizes of these cabinets. Maybe check your antique malls and stores, too.


    Here's an old photo of it from when it was in the kitchen here. I now have a large Heywood Wakefield hutch in the kitchen.




  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Sa-woon. Do you have a picture of the Heywood Wakefield? My local MCM FB group has a lot of it, but mostly tables and desks.

  • gsciencechick

    Writersblock, mine was originally all green. The guy who restored it went with the buttercreme color with green accents to make it more likely to sell. Good point about the lead, too. I never used the bins.

    bpath, here are some Christmas photos.





    bpath Oh Sophie thanked gsciencechick
  • tinam61

    I have two. I believe both are Sellers brand, I will have to look. (Currently sitting in bed LOL.) We have one in our kitchen we bought from an antique store. It had been painted (off-white) but works well in our kitchen. Walls are a cafe au lait color. I have it on a wall in our breakfast nook. Has alot of our pup's supplies, but I also store my sewing machine in one of the bottom cabinets. The other one belonged to my mother, is oak (stained). It's in our sunroom and I have gardening supplies, outdoor candles, garden and house flags, etc. That one still had some of the glass containers that fit in a rack inside the door. Held baking supplies.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Writersblock, thank you for the info. At our county flea market I always see them stained, so I’m glad to know that even if I got one, I’d be perfectly in my rights to paint it. Buttercream would be my color of choice. Some of them are ”distressed painted”, ugh. I want to look like *I* was transported back in time, not like the item was dug out from the back of the shed.

  • Indigo Rose

    I have one as well. Mine is an oak Hoosier that extends my counter space, I'm shrinking, now quite a bit shorter than my former 5'4, so the lower height suits me perfectly...although come to think of it I bought it in the seventies and never had a problem then, either. The lower height is for rolling out dough, etc. Mine is my baking center and it holds a ton of supplies. I have always loved it. I don't have a lot of counter space, so I frequently extend out the porcelain enamel top for additional work space. I designed my kitchen to accommodate my Hoosier and an antique oak wardrobe (pantry) and the stain of my quarter sawn oak cabinets are almost an exact match with the Hoosier.

  • justerrilynn

    Sure wish you would share a photo Indigo, it sounds wonderful.

  • writersblock (9b/10a)

    As far as painting goes, just to be clear, the early hoosiers were always plain wood. They often had slag glass in the upper section. Later ones could be natural wood or painted--they had paint-grade wood even back then--and you can usually tell if you get one of those that some misguided person stripped and stained.


    If you're on facebook there's a guy who calls himself The Hoosier Cabinet Guy and his page has many photos of interesting and unusual ones, although lately he seems to be more into old glass.

  • gsciencechick

    bpath, some were green, the buttercreme color, white, or natural wood stain.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    They all sound lovely!

    And thanks for the tip on the Hoosier guy’s FB page.

  • localeater

    I have often looked at them on Craigslist. And I want an enamel top table too! I think they are lovely. Here are two beauties currently looking for homes.

  • czarinalex

    I had one in my prior kitchen for about 25 years. Our farm house was built in the early 1920's and this piece fit perfectly. It's a Sellers. The single door on top had a pull down flour sifter. There was a little hinged door on top to add the flour. We removed it, so I could use that space.. my dh re-attached it when we sold the piece. I kept my cookbooks in the tambour section and misc. glassware in the top. The bottom door had a rollout shelf and the bottom drawer was a metal lined bread box.




  • tinam61

    I was wrong. The (painted) one in the kitchen is Sellers. The one we have in the sunroom is Hoosier brand. It is very, very similar to czarinalex's.


  • bpath Oh Sophie

    All so lovely. I think it would be wort2h it to lose my pantry for those. Seriously, it's only 26" wide and 11" deep, so a Hoosier cabinet would be totally worth it. My available depth is only 18", so the retracting shelf is important. My available width would be about 60".

    Sigh, but for resale (probably within the next 10 years), widening the pantry to 60" would be better. But, if we do nothing else to the kitchen but remove or widen the pantry, someone else would rip it out anyway, so who cares?

    I'm really heartened to know that you can actually USE them.

    But, what's with the tin? Why is that a problem, does it have lead? I was watching a show about baking the wedding cake for Queen Victoria, and they made the pan out of copper but lined it with tin so that the copper wouldn't react and poison the guests. I didn't understand any of that.

  • writersblock (9b/10a)

    Lead was a common component of really good tin in the olden days. You can find replacement hoppers for some models that are lead-free, if you use enough flour to need a hopper for it.


    Eating acidic foods cooked in unlined/uncoated copper can eventually be toxic:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_toxicity

  • schoolhouse_gwagain

    I have no cabinets, just standing cupboards. I love my 3-pc Hoosier. Bought it in the late 1970's. Lots of storage space, but I do not use the enamel top as a work space altho it will extend out quite a bit. I use the enamel top table in the foreground as my work space all the time as I don't have any counters.


  • writersblock (9b/10a)

    Wow, that's a really nice Art Deco set, schoolhouse!

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I LOVE that 3-piece set!

  • Indigo Rose

    Justerrilynn - I'm having problems with my old Mac and tried unsuccessfully to get either of two photos off my desktop that I previously uploaded to a Kitchens discussion by Cpartist. They're the only one's I have. Camera lent out and no cell phone! The thread with over 300 responses was entitled Why do all the kitchen's look the same? For anyone interested, I posted twice with the second picture further down the much better one if you click on it, showing my hoosier....unfortunately also shows the kitchen window (without trim) getting ready to be replaced, no backsplash, a temporary undercab light the electrician slapped to the wall until that area gets finished, the ceiling light hanging too low, etc. Many people posted great photos. If you haven't seen it, it's a long but very interesting read.

    Cpartist's kitchen thread Why do all the kitchens look the same?


    bpath Oh Sophie thanked Indigo Rose
  • gsciencechick

    Here's one at a local estate auction. Not a Hoosier or Sellers brand, but it looks pretty nice and great price.


    hoosier cabinet

  • Julia Millikan

    My moms Sellers cabinet belonged to her mothers. It is exactly like the the Hoosier cabinet of Gsciencechick, with the exception of the top doors, they were glass. I am hoping she will give it to me soon. HaHa if not that I will hope she wills it to me.


    Julie


  • justerrilynn

    I’m not in the market for a Hoosier but this one just came up on my FB local items garage sale. It’s from the 1950’s and asking $400 or best offer. Is that a good price? There is no other info listed.









  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Ooh, that‘s a pretty one!

  • justerrilynn

    I think it very cool. Wish I had a use for it. Of course if I ever have the want/need there will not be any around or if there are the price will be out of bounds.

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