On this day in 1919, Bernstein Brothers furniture store ran this ad for the popular Hoosier Kitchen Cabinet:
(click to enlarge image)
Kitchen cabinets of this type were made by more than just the Hoosier Manufacturing company of New Castle, Indiana, but any cabinets that acted as pantry/workstations for the kitchen were often referred to generically as "hoosier cabinets."
These new cabinets typically had a cupboard set back from a work service, sometimes metal-covered or marble, with shelves and designated spaces for dishes, bowls, and pantry goods all within easy reach. The work service could pull out to provide more space for working or even to act as a kitchen table for meals.
The cabinet displayed in the Bernstein Brothers ad included built-in flour sifters, sugar dispenser, spice rack, and even a cookbook holder. Some drawers were lined with metal and intended to keep cakes or bread fresh.
The cabinets are considered "scientific" in their ability to create "household efficiency," both important sales words in a time when Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were studying and developing more efficient ways to do a variety of work, including home management.
The ad promotes the payment options for the cabinet as well as their usefulness. Hoosier Manufacturing Company was one of the earliest adopters of the payment plan to move their goods into more homes, with the $1 down, $1 per week promotions. This allowed their dealers to sell the item as an affordable luxury for most any family.
Today, hoosier cabinets are considered antiques, with websites devoted to their care and collection, and spare parts available on eBay. Cabinets sell between $2,200-900, depending upon their condition.
- Athens Banner, Dec. 1918 - Jul. 1919 on Microfilm in the Heritage collection.
- Period Kitchens: A Practical Guide to Period-Style Decorating by Judith Miller in the general collection.
- Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson in the general collection.
- The Pantry: Its History and Modern Uses by Catherine Seiberling Pond in the general collection.
- Making Time: Lillian Moller Gilbreth by Jane Lancaster in the biography collection.
- 1001 Ideas for Kitchen Organization by Joe Provey in the general collection.
- Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Cary in the general collection.
- Kitchen Ideas that Work: Creative Design Solutions for Your Home by Beth Veillette in the general collection.
- Southeby's Guide to American Furniture by Patricia Petraglia in the Reference collection.
- Photograph of cabinet similar to the one drawn in the ad.