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Hoosier Cabinet Collection

Among the early manufacturers of Hoosier Cabinets, Coppes Napanee was the oldest by nearly three decades, beginning as a sawmill in the area in 1873 before the B&O Railroad was laid and Nappanee was founded. All of the Hoosier Cabinet companies went out of business during the Depression and World War II except Coppes Napanee, which remains in business today building custom kitchens in the same facility where the famous Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchenet was made.

This exhibit is a collection of Hoosier Cabinets that includes five Coppes Napanee. They show the variety of styles put forth in different brands. Today Hoosier Cabinets are prized among antiques collectors and a cottage industry of replicas and replacement parts is thriving.

Hoosier Cabinets came to have everything but the “kitchen sink” in them. The sliding zinc and, later, porcelain covered worktops and built-in flour sifter was the hallmark addition to the early Hoosiers. Metal cake and bread box, kneading boards, chopping block, spice jars and salt dish, tea and coffee jars, sugar sifter and lump chrusher, pot and pan shelves, cookbook holders, bill hooks, food grinder, and shopping list reminders. Near the end of their popularity even electrical outlets were built into the cabinets.

In 1920 Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, organized the Committee on Elimination of waste in Industry, which commissioned a study on the efficiency of the American kitchen. The published results, from scientific measurement, declared that the American housewife could save 1,592 steps of the 2,113 she took in her kitchen every day by using a Coppes Nappanee Dutch Kitchenet. Coppes ads in The Ladies Home Journal declared, “After these amazing discoveries no woman will end another day footsore and weary. None will endure the distressing fatigue of kitchen work any longer.”

Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchen
Coppes Bros., Mutschler and Zook
Hoosier Cabinet
Nappanee, Indiana
Circa 1910
Built between 1901 and 1914, before Coppes and Mutschler brothers split into two companies following the death of Daniel Zook.

Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchenet
Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchenet
Hoosier Cabinet
Nappanee, Indiana
Circa 1925
Originally painted in pink enamel. 50,000 of these cabinets were made annually.

Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchenet
Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchenet
Hoosier Cabinet
Nappanee, Indiana
Rare under-window model with sliding top.

Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchenet
Coppes Napanee Dutch Kitchenet
Hoosier Cabinet
Nappanee, Indiana
Late model contemporary Dutch Kitchenet styled with Art Deco hardware.

Coppes Napanee Kitchen Dinete
Coppes Napanee Kitchen Dinete
Nappanee, Indiana
Circa 1930’s
The Dutch Kitchenet becomes modular with the central unit still recognizable with it’s sliding work top. The two utility closets on either side were used for broom, mop and sweeper storage. This is the final step in the evolution of the kitchen cabinet into today’s built in kitchen.

Hoosier Cabinet
Hoosier Cabinet
Hoosier Beauty
New Castle, Indiana
At its peak in 1925 the Hoosier Manufacturing Company employed over 700 with nearly 50 traveling salesmen calling on dealers throughout the country. The average production was 700 cabinets a day.

Sellers
Sellers
Hoosier Cabinet
Elwood, Indiana
At its peak of operations G.I. Sellers & Sons Company had more than 4,500 dealers nationwide. Entire trains of 90 or more cars would leave the Sellers factory loaded with kitchen cabinets and tables.

Aeriel
Aeriel
Hoosier Cabinet
Peru, Indiana
Circa 1920
Little is known at this time about the Aeriel Hoosier Cabinets. The 1924 Coppes sales manual includes a price list for Aerial along with Hoosier, Sellers, McDougall, and Boone.

McDougall
McDougall
Frankfort, Indiana
Circa 1920
Moved from Indianapolis to Frankfort in 1910 following a fire that destroyed the factory. The new factory was 60,000 square feet. The patented Auto-Front roll door dropped down to open rather than rollup as on most cabinets.

Coppes Salesman's Kit Kitchen
Coppes Salesman's Kit Kitchen
Scale model built in kitchen cabinet sample that fold up to fit in the automobile of the salesman taking it to his dealers for demonstration.