Ghosts of Furniture Past ™
a new feature here on C8C…featuring furniture updates, redo’s, repurposing…it will be a website of its own very soon!!! I own it.
For the past few weeks I have been doing a complete restoration (as close as I can get it) of a Marsh Hoosier cabinet. This is what a Marsh Hoosier really looks like…
this is what mine looked like when I bought it for $60…
The paint was a mess. Someone had just painted over the other layers to make it look cleaner…but they didn’t even clean it before doing so. So there are about 5 layers of paint and grime at this stage. Probably oil and latex and lead paint all mixed. Most of the parts are there…missing 2 door handles only. Some have water damage and the wood is warped in places. The tambour door (roll down door) is in two pieces and does not move at all. The roll out porcelain table is in tact with a little rust. The flour sifter is in tact and works. The original tag is present…somewhat. On the back it says white – red – black. So that is what I am going to attempt to recreate.
So here goes…check back later for the after photos!!!
UPDATE: The after post is here!
History of Hoosier Cabinets
A Hoosier cabinet (also known as a “Hoosier”) is a type of cupboard popular in the first decades of the 20th century. Named after the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of New Castle, Indiana, they were also made by several other companies, most also located in Indiana. Hoosier is now used as a generic term to describe this style of kitchen cabinet. Although Hoosier was the largest manufacturer, there were many companies that manufactured this style of cabinet beginning around the turn of the century and lasting through the depression. Some of the other companies were Sellers, Napanee, McDougall, Kitchen Maid, Marsh, Wilson and Boone.
The typical Hoosier cabinet consists of three parts. The base section usually has one large compartment with a slide-out shelf, and several drawers to one side. Generally it sat on small casters. The top portion is shallower and has several smaller compartments with doors, with one of the larger lower compartments having a roll-top or tambour. The top and the bottom are joined by a pair of metal channels which serve as the guide for a sliding countertop, which usually has a pair of shallow drawers affixed to its underside. The whole assembly, with the counter retracted, is fairly shallow, about 2 feet deep; the width and height are generally about 4 feet and 6 feet respectively.
A distinctive feature of the Hoosier cabinet is its accessories. As originally supplied, they were equipped with various racks and other hardware to hold and organize spices and various staples. One particularly distinctive item is the combination flour-bin/sifter, a tin hopper that could be used without having to remove it from the cabinet. A similar sugar bin was also common.
Special glass jars were manufactured to fit the cabinet and its racks. A major manufacturer of the glassware was Sneath Glass Company. Original sets of Hoosier glassware consisted of coffee and tea canisters, a salt box, and four to eight spice jars. Some manufacturers also included a cracker jar. One distinctive form was a cylindrical jar with a ring molded around its center, to allow it to rest in the holes of a metal hanging rack.
On the inside of the doors, it was common to have cards with such information as measurement conversions, sample menus, and other household helps.
The Hoosier Manufacturing Co. is thought to have been founded in 1898 (though some sources claim 1903). Houses of the period were not equipped with built-in cabinetry, and the lack of storage space in the kitchen became acute. Hoosier adapted an existing furniture piece, the baker’s cabinet, which had a similar structure of a table top with some cabinets above it (and frequently flour bins beneath). By rearranging the parts and taking advantage of (then) modern metal working, they were able to produce a well-organized, compact cabinet which answered the home cook’s needs for storage and working space.
Hoosier cabinets remained popular into the 1920s, but by that time houses began to be built with more modern kitchens with built-in cabinets and other fixtures. Thus supplanted, the Hoosier largely disappeared. They remain common on the antique market, however, and are still used as supplemental cabinets.