History of the Pie Safe

Beth Rice 28/03/2017

For a good part of the 19th century, a very important piece of furniture sat in the middle of many kitchens — the pie safe. Also known as a pie cabinet, pie cupboard, pie chest, or kitchen safe, the pie safe helped to keep pesky insects, rodents, and dirt away from freshly baked goods.

Origins

It is believed that the pie safe was first introduced in the United States in the 1800s by German immigrants who would come to be known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

Word spread quickly about the new storage solution that protected baked goods. The pie safe became the closest thing to a refrigerator, making it a popular and relied upon piece of kitchen furniture. Ventilation, in the form of screens or tin with holes punched into it, contributed to keeping baked goods cool and preventing mold growth. The pie safe’s appeal started to wane at the end of the 19th century when the icebox entered the picture.

Construction

Original pie safes were the size of large bureaus and were made from solid wood. Yellow pine was the most common wood choice. Soft pine was often used to make the shelves and drawers. Variations in size and shape contributed to its appeal. Most were freestanding cabinets with deep shelves. Pie safes with tin doors were the most common. Designs were created by the punched holes that also provided ventilation. Church scenes and simple shapes were the most popular.

Pie Safe Styles

Freestanding

A solid wood cabinet standing on four legs was the most common design. The Amish Deluxe Pine Wood Safe with Drawer is a solid wood, freestanding style.

Amish Deluxe Pine Wood Pie Safe With Drawer

Tin Panel Feature

Punched tin panel designs such as those on the Amish Lancaster Raised Panel Pie Safe with Tin Doors added decoration while providing much needed ventilation.

Amish Lancaster Raised Panel Pie Safe with Tin Doors

Glass Doors

The Amish Furniture Modesto Mission Pie Safe Cabinet offers the option of glass or copper doors, adding an upscale and elegant appearance.

Amish Furniture Modesto Mission Pie Safe Cabinet

Copper Accents

The copper wheat panel designs on the doors of Amish Pie Safe contribute easily to a country style furniture collection.

Amish Pie Safe

Pie Safes Today

The pie safe has become a treasured antique, with its versatile style providing a variety of storage options. Today, it easily contributes to the popular shabby chic look. Not just for pies anymore, solid wood safes are perfect for the kitchen, pantry, hallway, or mudroom.

The Amish Pine Pie Safe Pantry Cabinet is the perfect candidate for baking supplies in the kitchen.

Amish Pine Pie Safe Pantry Cabinet

A solid wood pie safe like the Amish Pine Margie’s Pie Safe makes a great candidate to house candles, linens, and miscellaneous toiletries in a bathroom or guest bedroom.

Amish Pine Margie's Pie Safe

The Amish Mission Pie Safe provides a stylish cabinet for toy storage in the playroom.

https://www.dutchcrafters.com/Amish-Mission-Pie-Safe/p/49079
Our Amish made pie safes are customizable replicas of some of the original designs brought to the United States by the Pennsylvania Dutch, and can be used for anything from crafting supplies to baked goods.

Beth Riceby Beth Rice (110 Posts)

Beth Rice started a dream job when she began as a content writer for DutchCrafters in 2015. She has an A.A. Degree from Manatee Community College, and studied Journalism at the University of South Florida for one year. Her published work includes a short story in Chicken Soup for the Soul's "My Amazing Mom" edition and one children's book, "I"m Adopted, I'm Special." Conveying the qualities, functions and benefits of DutchCrafters furniture keeps her creative as she contributes to content throughout the website. An avid reader and devoted runner, Beth hopes to publish a novel in the future. DutchCrafters Timber to Table blog was started in 2012 to provide our customers and other readers with woodworkers stories, Amish culture information, and furniture selection or interior design tips.


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2 comments

  • Ray Oswald
    10/01/2017 at 2:28 pm

    We have my grandmother’s all tin enclosed pie safe—her name and the date 1884 appear on the front two panels: we were told an uncle made it for her upon her birth Definately PA Dutch Lehigh County PA.

    Any suggestions on a quality repair / restore craftsmen?


  • Milca Rivera
    Milca Rivera
    10/03/2017 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Ray,

    Thank you for your question. One of our support specialists recommended U.S. Quality Furniture Repair. We also recommend doing a search on Yelp or general search for “furniture repair specialist” or “furniture restoration specialist” in or near your area. That way you can read reviews before deciding who to contact for repair and restoration.


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