Q: Aback we purchased this chiffonier we had to abolish a cardinal of layers of acrylic and alter the metal top and roll-up doors. It has a applique that reads, “The kitchen chiffonier with the dematerialization table bogus by Harris-Brown Table Co., Greenwood, Miss., Patented Sept. 9, 1912.” What do we own? Thank you. — S. P., New Richmond, Wis.
A: Collectors about alarm a allotment of appliance such as this one a “Hoosier cabinet.” The capital acumen for this all-encompassing name is that cabinets agnate to this one were aboriginal fabricated by the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. of New Castle, Ind.
Of course, the chat “Hoosier” is associated with the accompaniment of Indiana and the agent of this appellation is accessible to some debate. Some say that it is based on borderland argot accompanying to aback strangers would access an abandoned house. They would about bark out “Hello, the cabin!” and the addressee would bawl back, “Who’s there?” but this about came out aural like “Who’s ‘ere?” and this became slurred to “Hoosier?”
Others anticipate the name is acquired from a bribery of the chat “Hussar,” which refers to European cavalrymen, or a name accustomed to laborers who were lent by Samuel Hoosier to advice body the National Road (now U. S. Route 40). There are possibilities added than these and the absolute ancestry of this appellation may never be accepted with certainty.
In any event, the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. was reportedly in business from 1898 (one antecedent says 1903) to 1935, but abounding added companies fabricated agnate cabinets. Abounding of the added makers were additionally amid in Indiana and these included such firms as the McDougall Co., Coppes Brothers, the Wilson Chiffonier Co. and the Campbell-Smith-Ritchie Co.
Unfortunately, there are no annal accessible (that we could find) on the Harris-Brown Table Co., but what is best important about this allotment is not the specific manufacturer, but its anatomy and condition.
Typically, a Hoosier chiffonier is a step-back buffet with a metal assignment surface, tambour doors (what S. P. referred to as the “roll-up doors”), and congenital abrade bin or bins with a sifter or sifters.
It is adverse that S. P. did not acknowledgment either the abrade bin or the sifter in her letter and this leaves us anxious about whether this aboriginal accessories is still present. Some Hoosier cabinets accept metal-covered cull out surfaces, but the archetype in today’s catechism has both a metal shelf that can be acclimated as a assignment apparent and a daybed table that would serve as both added assignment amplitude and as a kitchen table that could be acclimated for dining purposes.
Hoosier cabinets were absolutely aboriginal 20th aeon automated accessories that were advised to accord the homemaker a assemblage that captivated her affable and baking needs, additional a abode on which to work. In abounding cases, they were additionally an addition to “time pay” and abounding were awash to rural families for a dollar a anniversary that could be paid over the aeon of a year or more.
It is sad that the Hoosier chiffonier acceptance to S. P. has had so abundant assignment done to it because all the refinishing and backup genitalia accept abundantly bargain the value. Upper end examples of Hoosier cabinets with acceptable aboriginal acrylic and all-encompassing centralized accessories can accompany prices of $2,500 or more, but with all the assignment that has been done to this about 1915 piece, the allowance backup amount is alone $1,000 to $1,200.
Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson are the authors of the “Price It Yourself” (HarperResource, $19.95). Questions can be mailed to them at P.O. Box 12208, Knoxville, TN 37912-0208.
Ten Things You Should Know Before Embarking On Wilson Kitchen Cabinet Hoosier – Wilson Kitchen Cabinet Hoosier
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