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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Notes from the Museums – Hoosier Cabinet

By the time the Stringer family moved into the house now known as the May-Stringer Museum, they probably had a kitchen cabinet commonly known as a Hoosier. The Hoosier Manufacturing Co. wasn’t the only company to build the cabinets, but it was the best known. The other companies were also based in the State of Indiana, hence the Hoosier was appropriate to all.
The cabinet in the kitchen at the May-Stringer has a label on the front that identifies it as a ‘Hoosier Saves Steps.’ An ad in a 1914 Saturday Evening Post shows the Hoosiers were available in Tampa. Built in a time before the term ‘counter space’ was routine, the Hoosier provided a large work space on an enamel or sometimes zinc surface that extended forward to make it even larger.
A flour bin with a sifter and a sugar bin were standard, as were racks that stowed glass spice and condiment jars. Other features that are seen in the cabinets are knife drawers, tinned bread drawers and other drawers, pull out cutting boards, and a cookbook/recipe card holder.
The depression and WWII supply shortages caused the Hoosier Manufacturing Co. to close in 1942. Gone, but still admired for the ingenuity in crafting the useful piece of equipment that was more like a piece of furniture.

The Museum Schedules! The May-Stringer tours on Tuesday – Saturday from 11am – 3pm – 352-799-0129
The 1885 Depot tours on Friday – Saturday from noon – 3pm – 352-799-4766
The Countryman One Room Schoolhouse is open on Saturdays from noon – 3pm – 352-515-3054

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