Find the Best Antique Pie Safe for Your Kitchen

by Digby_Adams

A pie safe is a pantry cabinet that was designed to cool pies and keep them safe from hungry appetites

"Digby, get your fingers out of that pie safe." It seems like just yesterday that I was a small child visiting my great grandmother and sneaking tastes of her pie. She made the best pies in the county and often took home the Blue Ribbon for her pies at the county fair. No one put our wild Maine blueberries to better use than Great Grandma Adams, when she made a blueberry pie.

When she passed on, she told the family members who wanted her pie safe to enter the county fair pie baking contest. The family member with the best showing could have the pie safe. Yes, Great Grandma had a keen sense of humor too. Auntie Alice came in second and she got the pie safe. She is actually on my Mom's side of the family, not my Dad's. As long as Auntie Alice promised to bake pies for all the family gatherings, no one on any side of the family cared.

Primitive Pie Safe

Country people use everything to make pantry cabinets
Made from A Cornflake Crate and Window Screen
Made from A Cornflake Crate and Window Screen

Look closely and you'll see the word cornflakes on this tabletop pie safe. That's because it was made from a cornflakes shipping crate. Pie safes often have a screen so that the air can circulate and let the pies cool. The screen keeps away the flies. Padlocks were often used to keep hungry fingers from tasting the pie. 

My mom often put pies on the window sill to cool on a hot day. She'd say, "Who wants a hot pie, heating up the kitchen. 

The screen on this pie safe began life as a screen door. I can see some little kids with steel wool brushes cleaning it before their dad, used it as a pie safe door. That's a task that would have kept me busy for an hour or two. 

Primitive Pie Safe

Antique Southern Pie Safe

Some People prefer original paint
Worn Paint and Screens Add Character
Worn Paint and Screens Add Character

There continues to be a huge debate in the antique community about original paint. I know Great Grandma Adams always kept pantry cabinets in spit and polish condition. Hers were sandpapered and painted many time. They never ever would have looked like this. I think she would laugh at people who thought distress primitive antiques are attractive.

That said, if you're buying an antique pie safe for it's resale value as well as to use, think long and hard before you repaint it. It will decrease it's value significantly. However, I love to spruce up antique furniture and make them look like new. Of course I intend to keep them for decades.

The antique southern pie chest shown above has older screens as well as the original paint. You can see the unfinished wood shelves on the inside. Even if you don't bake enough pie to fill this up on a regular basis, you can use it to hold many things. 

Southern Pie Safe

Archtectural Salvage Pie Shelf

Companies now strip old home of their architectural details
Architectural salvage companies often have great pieces
Architectural salvage companies often have great pieces

Old dilapidated farmhouses are often so far gone that they can't be saved. However the land is worth a lot of money and has great views, so people tear down the farmhouse and build a new home. Often architectural salvage companies vie to see who can strip the house of it's details and worn out furniture. They actually pay the new owner to cart the stuff away. 

I can spend hours in an architectural salvage warehouse looking for antique pie safes or other items for the 19th Century farmhouse my husband and I are restoring. When we had to replace room doors, this was the only way to find one that fit in with older interior. 

Architectural Salvage Pie Safes

Updated: 12/22/2014, Digby_Adams
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Digby_Adams on 06/18/2015

I guess you had to have the right gandma!

blackspanielgallery on 06/18/2015

Well, this is new for me. I remember a lot, but not these.

Digby_Adams on 12/22/2014

I have always loved the name pie safe. I guess I wasn't the only mischievous child who wanted to steal a piece of pie.

Thamisgith on 12/22/2014

I didn't even know there was such a thing as a "pie safe". Neither did my grandmother I'm happy to say!

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