How to Identify a Hoosier Cabinet
I remember as a child watching my grandmother sift flour through her Hoosier Cabinet. It usually meant that something good was in the works!
As an adult and avid antique buff, I was often transported back to my grandmother's kitchen when seeing Hoosier cabinets in antique stores. I told my husband that someday when I had the space, when we built our own house and could decorate the kitchen as we wished, I wanted a Hoosier cabinet in my kitchen. It was on my wish list, although these days, a Hoosier Cabinet in halfway decent shape come with a hefty price tag.
On Father's Day, my husband, son and I spent the day traveling around to several vendors and antique malls in our area. At one stop we came across a Hoosier cabinet in the back room of a vendors mall. It was in terrific shape, with the major downfalls being a cracked glass in the cabinet and the red enamel rim being painted blue. I opened the cabinet door and was surprised to find the flour sifter still intact. The price tag was $250.00. A steal!
Hoosier cabinets were manufactured between the 1890's and the 1920s and seemingly come in many configurations. Common features include a retractable counter top which was usually enamel, a built in flour sifter, a bread storage drawer and several cabinets and drawers for storage. They were popular because in that age, kitchens did not have built in cabinets and storage and the Hoosier cabinet filled that need. There is no set pattern for the drawer and cabinet configurations. Typically there's a space with a glass door for showing off your pretty pieces while the rest of the cabinet is completely utilitarian. Usually the enamel counter has a painted rim, usually in red or dark blue/black. I have been told that the original color was red. Drawers and cabinet space were usually equipped with racks and hooks. The cabinets themselves are not flashy or fancy. They were meant for the kitchen and not meant to be a show piece.
I'm happy to say that a week later that Hoosier cabinet that we found at the vendor mall made its way into my kitchen. My son has taken on the task of restoring the enamel counter top to reveal it's original red trim. Although we don't use the flour sifter, we have no plans to remove it. I open the cabinet door and see it there and remember my dear sweet granny in her kitchen.