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Trying to learn names and styles of old farm house kitchen furniture

 
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I looked at putting this in the kitchen forum, but it didn't seem to have any place for kitchen tools or furniture.

Hey permies,

I have always loved the old farm house kitchen furniture. I plan to either buy old vintage stuff, reproductions, or DIY build my own versions. But here is the thing. I don't know all the styles and names out there. Rarely in the antique stores are they labeled with the names. I have done some research and found some names for some of them. But did not find a good resource describing the styles and what the different names for each were or even why they got their names.

I would love to hear from you all about other styles and names I might have missed.

There is of course the all important Hoosier cabinet. Probably the most iconic and impressive of the kitchen furniture pieces. It is the one than got me thinking "this is what I want when I build a kitchen" but funny thing I did not even know the name for it until tonight when researching. The built in flour sifter, spice rack carousel, easy reference charts, cook book holders, and other useful features that often came with these make them the best of the old farm house kitchen furniture pieces.





Next awesome piece is the Possum Belly (Bakers) cabinet. Thus called due to the rounded drawers for flour storage and ease to scoop out. They are also often called sow belly, pot belly and hoosier flour cabinet.





There is the step back cabinet. Which seems to just refer to the top section being stepped back slightly from the bottom. (though I might be wrong about the reason for the name)



There is the ever popular side board. Which seems to be one of the few that has stuck around to modern times and is still popularly produced in modern styles.



Then there is of course the Pie Safe cabinets. Which is anything with air flow to allow pies to cool without bugs getting all over them. Some with tin with holes in them others just have screen mesh.





Now there is what is called the Bakers cabinet, but this seems to be a generic term rather than a specific style. I have seen Hoosier, Possum Belly, and Side Boards called Baker's cabinets.

I also spotted French Country cupboards and Dutch cupboards which just seemed to be special styled step back cabinets.

So that about does it for my research so far. As I said at the beginning. I would love to hear more from people here who might know a lot more about these great older pieces of kitchen furniture, or have other styles and names to share. Any resource links and general background would be awesome help, as well as personal experiences with them and pics of ones you own.
 
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Nice photos of some really great antiques.
Pie safes with screen are pie safes that have been redone and are not as valuable as correct, punched tin pie safes.
There are corner pie safes like in your photo but most are going to be rectangular with no drawers, only pie cooling shelves, or there will be drawers at the bottom behind the pie safe doors (you open the doors to get to the drawers).

My wife and I are currently looking for a correct Hoosier Cabinet and are finding that they are hard to find in original condition for less than 800 dollars.
Most of the ones we have looked at have been refinished and the owner thinks they are worth  more because they ruined the original finish and replaced the pulls.
I did find one such cabinet that I offered the guy 150 for since he stripped everything out and replaced the hardware.
I had to explain to him that all he did was take a 700 dollar cabinet and make it worth less than half what I would have gladly paid if left original.

I've even seen these atrocities carried out by knowledgeable antique dealers, I always call them on their mistake and offer a reasonable price for a ruined antique.

for those that don't know, Hoosier cabinets came in about 10 configurations, including the work top and slide out board.
most have the work top slide in and out but many of them don't have that very desirable feature either by original design or by being reworked.
The fixed work top models will have a slide out cutting board just under the work top.

many homesteads had the "bakers cabinet" that had flour holder/sifter, sugar dispenser, spice rack, shopping list wheel and cook temp chart. (totally complete ones are really hard to find now)
Some have a porcelain work top with middle pull out board, some have a marble work top with left side pull out board, most have a wood work top with center pull out board.
There are potato bin models too where the lower right drawer is the potato bin with a knife tray drawer above it.

This piece of furniture was a do all, hold all, type of cabinet that was originally sized to be carried in a wagon to where you were going to start your homestead.
Then as folks got settled in, and the railroad came through, the factories offered up increasingly "fancy" models, which is when the marble top came into being.
It is possible to date a cabinet by the hardware, configuration, type of woods used and overall appearance, most of these would have come with a paper plaque card pasted to the back with MFG. name, date and patent numbers, just about all of the surviving cabinets have lost at least a large part of this plaque.

Some times you can find the upper half fitted to a different bottom half which might be period correct or it might be brand new, custom made or repurposed.

 
Devin Lavign
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Nice photos of some really great antiques.
Pie safes with screen are pie safes that have been redone and are not as valuable as correct, punched tin pie safes.
There are corner pie safes like in your photo but most are going to be rectangular with no drawers, only pie cooling shelves, or there will be drawers at the bottom behind the pie safe doors (you open the doors to get to the drawers).



You would be surprised how hard I had to search for decent pie safe pics. Or maybe you wouldn't, since you seem to know how horribly some of these great antiques get "restored".

Just remember while you are out looking for your Hoosier, that you live in an area where they are actually plentiful and can be found with some regularity. I am up in a forgotten corner of the Pac NW. My access to these is a lot less common. While there are some here and there, I have a lot less choice of models and condition. Though the good of my area is Eastern Wa is some old school ranching country, where true cowboys riding the range actually lasted longer than most anywhere else in the country. Where there were a lot of isolated homesteads. So there are some original homestead antiques out here. But just not in the amounts you got back there.
 
Devin Lavign
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Somethings I have been learning about the Hoosiers.

How few still have the tin bread drawer cover intact.


Gogo thing though is there are reproductions available if you do need one.

Even rarer is the 2nd drawer still having the tin. Not sure exactly what the 2nd drawer tin was for, the bottom was clearly indicated as the bread/baked good drawer. But the 2nd drawer was often tin covered as well but no indication what this was meant to be for as it was a shallower height. Pie drawer maybe?

Here is a good pic of both drawers with the tin intact, that 2nd (middle drawer) is almost never found with the tin cover. Likely due to as kitchens evolved the need for storing food in these lessened and more need for utensil space increased.


Oh the funniest thing I discovered so far is the meat/grain grinder. Having a little metal angle with a piece of wood to attach a meat/grain grinder onto is one of the holy grails of Hoosier collectors. Finding one original intact can bump the cost of the cabinet up $200-$300. Just for a little thing like this original pic below. Though from my understanding to fetch this sort of mark up, it must be still attached. If separate it only increases value by about $75. Still, LOL

Here is an original version, that can bump the price that much





The funny part is you can buy a reproduction, that is in much better shape, but if it is not original it doesn't increase the value to the collector bunch.

 
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My hoosier is by a brand I can't remember at the moment, the name plate was not attached but seller had when I bought it but it disappeared somewhere between loading it and transporting it the 10 blocks to my house which was a bummer.

My tin bread drawer cover is still there, the other drawers were just wood, no tin. Mine also didn't have a flour sifter, etc however I have thought about finding the parts and installing one.
 
Devin Lavign
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Hey Carrie, yes there are a lot of different brands that came out copying the Hoosier brand style. These days they all fit into the Hoosier name like Kleenex, Q-tip, or Band Aid are brands that became ubiquitous for the product.

What I have gathered for identifying is looking at the hinges and latch hardware. Hoosier brand had H's on their hardware, Sellers I think had S's on at least some.

This is a decent site that helps date some Hoosiers. This company actually consolidated many different companies. So it is a good start to check. Unknown Hoosiers.
https://coppescommons.com/coppes-kitchens-hoosiers/date-your-hoosier-cabinet/

Another extremely common brand is Sellers. They were one of the longest lasting, going all the way into Art Deco in the 40's. A lot of the Hoosiers still around are the Sellers.
You can check out these vintage ads to see if you spot your version in there, though there are a lot of similar cabinets and without the sifter, identifying is harder as that can often help in identification between two similar cabinets.
http://www.hoosiercabinet.com/original-ads-for-cabinets.htm

Once you do identify what the make and year it is, you will have an easier time tracking down parts to resort to original glory.
 
Devin Lavign
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Just noticed you did say you have the tag just that it was not on the piece now.
 
Carrie Nicole
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Found a picture of mine. Only paid 125 and it needs work but has become the most functional piece of furniture I have. I love the slide out enamel work surface.
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Carrie Nicole
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Devin Lavign wrote:Just noticed you did say you have the tag just that it was not on the piece now.



The seller had it and when we were taking it apart to load it in my truck it just disappeared. I scoured every inch from his backdoor to where we loaded it, looked through the grass and everything and looked in every corner of my truck, it just vanished!
 
Devin Lavign
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Beautiful piece Carrie, thanks for finding a pic to share it with us.

Wow $125, great deal. Even if you need to put some work into it and track down the flour sifter, that is awesome for that price.
 
Carrie Nicole
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Devin Lavign wrote:This is a decent site that helps date some Hoosiers. This company actually consolidated many different companies. So it is a good start to check. Unknown Hoosiers.
https://coppescommons.com/coppes-kitchens-hoosiers/date-your-hoosier-cabinet/



Ahh, looking through this jogged my memory. It's a Boone. I googled the Boone nameplate and yep, that's what it looked like.
 
Devin Lavign
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Carrie Nicole wrote:

Devin Lavign wrote:Just noticed you did say you have the tag just that it was not on the piece now.



The seller had it and when we were taking it apart to load it in my truck it just disappeared. I scoured every inch from his backdoor to where we loaded it, looked through the grass and everything and looked in every corner of my truck, it just vanished!



Oh no, that sucks. To know it was there and it disappeared. Did you ever go back and ask the seller if it was found?
 
Devin Lavign
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Carrie Nicole wrote:

Devin Lavign wrote:This is a decent site that helps date some Hoosiers. This company actually consolidated many different companies. So it is a good start to check. Unknown Hoosiers.
https://coppescommons.com/coppes-kitchens-hoosiers/date-your-hoosier-cabinet/



Ahh, looking through this jogged my memory. It's a Boone. I googled the Boone nameplate and yep, that's what it looked like.



Yay! Great that link helped you spot the right brand.
 
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And this one sits unused upstairs in the barn. I even have the metal tins for the flour. 2.5 hrs NW of Spokane
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old kitchen cabinet
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old kitchen cabinet
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old kitchen cabinet
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old kitchen cabinet
 
Devin Lavign
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Thomas, that is a beautiful piece. Are you planning to use it? Or are you looking to sell? Montana is a bit of a distance from me, Spokane is a 5 hr drive.

I am not quite ready to pull the trigger on one of these, I still haven't started building my house. But for a great condition cabinet for the right price I might jump on one early and put it in storage. You can PM me for more discussion, or post in this thread.

If your not selling, I still appreciate you posting up pics of yours. I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing people's Hoosier Cabinets. There are so many varieties and styles.
 
Devin Lavign
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So while researching these I did some youtubing and found this video discussing the history of the Hoosier brand and how it became a style of many different brands.

The text can go by sort of fast at times, so use that pause button if needed to catch all the info.

 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Carrie, that is a super hoosier cabinet, hard to find them with the tambor still in place.
 
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Devin Lavign wrote:Somethings I have been learning about the Hoosiers.

How few still have the tin bread drawer cover intact.


Gogo thing though is there are reproductions available if you do need one.

Even rarer is the 2nd drawer still having the tin. Not sure exactly what the 2nd drawer tin was for, the bottom was clearly indicated as the bread/baked good drawer. But the 2nd drawer was often tin covered as well but no indication what this was meant to be for as it was a shallower height. Pie drawer maybe?

Here is a good pic of both drawers with the tin intact, that 2nd (middle drawer) is almost never found with the tin cover. Likely due to as kitchens evolved the need for storing food in these lessened and more need for utensil space increased.




I have one of those tin drawers but it was sold to me as potatoe storage, which is what I use it for. Bread huh......
 
Devin Lavign
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elle sagenev wrote:I have one of those tin drawers but it was sold to me as potatoe storage, which is what I use it for. Bread huh......



I think a lot of people did use it for that.

But from my understanding these cabinets were designed primarily as a baking work station, so the drawer was designed as a bread drawer for the baker using these.

Of course what anyone uses anything like these for is completely up to them. There really is no right or wrong just what works for you.
 
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Love to see this thread as it is a curiousity of mine as well.   Moved into an old 1899 farmhouse a couple of years ago and since then, seem to be moving back in time as far as interest and well.... the older stuff.  The craftsmanship was made to last in most insances.

Was speaking to a local guy about history and he started talking about his curiousity on sugar chests. So much he evidently wrote a book on them.  I had never heard of them but they seem to be quite rare, mostly from the South. They have dividers where light and darks sugar are stored. Seemed impractical but had to be some reasoning there.
 
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I doubt the stars will align for anyone reading this thread, but I came across a hoosier cabinet in central Kentucky on Craigslist that appears to be in close to original condition, if not original condition. They didn't list a price - just that they need it gone by April 20th.

https://lexington.craigslist.org/grd/d/berea-reduced-must-go/6857980579.html
 
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