History of Pie Safes


An early type of kitchen cabinet, a pie safe is a freestanding, ventilated cupboard with deep shelves that could accommodate pies and other baked goods. Many antique American pie safes of the 18th and 19th centuries are from areas settled by German immigrants. Woodworkers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois made these cupboards mainly from soft pine. Although many pie safes and cupboards were homemade, antique pie safes from the mid to late 19th century also can be traced by the maker’s mark if they were manufactured in a factory or workshop.

Artistry and Function

  • An identifying characteristic of a pie safe is the ventilation, which typically is artistic tin punch work in the tin panels of the cupboard doors and sides. The tin often was brightly painted. The punched panels provided air circulation that allowed fresh baked goods to cool, and the ventilation helped prevent mold growth on stored goods. The tin panels were impervious to insects and gnawing rodents, although mice have marked the wood portions of many an antique pie safe.

Cabinet Variations

  • Similar cabinets evolved, some with glass panels or wire mesh inserts instead of punched tin. Also used as jelly cupboards or for storing other preserved foods, some cabinets were made with solid or louvered door compartments and drawers for storing flour, sugar and bakeware. Practical Hoosier Cabinets became popular kitchen furnishings during the early 20th century -- before built-ins were the norm -- making pie safes old-fashioned.

Related Searches


  • Photo Credit Hoosier_Photo/iStock/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet



You May Also Like

  • How to Build a Pie Safe

    Although the specific use of the pie safe, to cool pies while keeping insects and children away, has faded, the classic piece...

  • How to Refinish a Pie Safe

    Pie safes are traditional pieces of furniture that households used to always have. The Germans introduced pie safes in the 1800s. Pie...

  • How to Restore an Antique Pie Safe

    Pie safes were introduced to America by the Germans. They were free-standing kitchen cabinets made of pine or other soft wood, with...

  • Design Elements in a 1930s Farmhouse Kitchen

    The Great Depression of the 1930s left many people penniless and had a tremendous impact on the lifestyles -- and by extension...

  • How to Use a Pyrex Pie Plate

    Using Pyrex pie plates is safe because they can be used in the microwave or oven. Find out how to use Pyrex...

Related Searches

Check It Out

22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!