By William J. Pepe
Most of this article's images are after the text concludes.
At Thanksgiving time, my wife makes a variety of pies for our extended family. I enjoy sampling each of the pies she makes. In the early years of our marriage, she made her pies in tin or aluminum pie plates. As years flowed by, she gradually gave up making her pies in metallic pie plates and continued making her pies in glass pie plates. One day, on a pantry shelf, I found a stack of her abandoned metal pie plates. As I examined them, nostalgic memories stirred in my mind.
There were pie plates from the Table Talk pie company. I remember buying many a five-cent table talk pie as a snack when I was a teenage boy. No, there were no nickel size pie plates in her accumulation but her pie plates stirred my memory.
There were pie plates from New England Pie Company, Table Talk that offered a ten-cent refund of your deposit if you returned the pie plate to the store where you had purchased it. Obviously, no one had returned that pie plate to the store. It was in my wife’s accumulation. Notice, please. The pie plates are my wife’s “accumulation” and my “collection.”
One day, as I wandered through a thrift store, I noticed that they had several metal pie plates for sale. One of the plates had a device riveted to the center. The device is a blade that swivels in a circle in order to separate the bottom crust from the plate. I had never seen such a device before, so, after contemplating for several seconds, I inquired as to the price. The clerk quickly responded, "You can have them all for a dime." I decided to invest the ten-cents that the store clerk was asking for the plates, buy them, and double the size of my collection.
Some pie plates have holes punched in the bottom. One has ventilating holes punched in its side. Some people believe that the holes facilitate the cooking of the pie. I have no opinion on that. I have never cooked a pie. To me, it is just another variation of a pie plate.
Lo and behold! One of my daughters contributed to my collection. At a church yard sale, my daughter found a genuine Frisbie’s Pie plate. She purchased the plate for twenty-five cents and gave it to me as a birthday gift. I was delighted.
Are there other people who collect pie plates? According to my findings on E-bay, there are many pie plate collectors. Today's prices, as I wrote this article, ranged from a low of $1.25 each for a lot of six, to the high opening bid of $59.95.
As I write this, my fifteen metal pie plates are proudly on display in a dining room hutch. My holiday guests seem genuinely interested when I point out the variations in the different plates. The metal pie plate that holds their most interest is the original Frisbie pie plate but their favorite pie plate is the glass one on the table holding one of my wife’s homemade apple pies.
In 1851, William R. Frisbie purchased a Bridgeport, Connecticut branch of the Olds Baking Company and renamed it. From that starting point, the history of the Frisbee toy/sporting equipment varies.
There is no certainty as to what Mr. Frisbie named his company. Was it Frisbie Pie Company or was it Frisbie Baking Company? Was it something else?
Did the Frisbie flying pie plate originate with local children who obtained some of the pie plates and exercised their need to play by throwing them? Was the “something to do” activity started by Frisbie delivery men on their lunch hour? Did Yale University students introduce it as a college activity? History does not agree as to which group popularized the activity, but history seems to agree that each group would yell “Frisbie” to warn other participants of the approaching missile.
Marketing the “Flying Saucer” was first tried in the 1940s. Rebirths of the concept continued and found success when Wham-o purchased the rights to the toy, changed the spelling of “Frisbie” to “Frisbee,” and, in 1957, started marketing it successfully. The toy/sporting good went on to its universal fame.
Our collection of fifteen metal pie plates, displayed on the dining room hutch, caught the interest of our holiday guests. Their favorite pie plates, however, were the glass ones on the table that contained my wife's homemade apple pies
New England Flaky Crust Pie, table Talk
With Ventilation Holes
The markings on the right indicate that there is a 10 cent
deposit on the pie plate
Unventilated Pie Plate
No other data available
Like most of our pie plates, rust stains have appeared.
Tin Pie Plate
No Ventilating Holes
Equipped with a rotating blade to separate pie from the plate.
An Original Frisbie's Pies plate
with ventilating holes
The spelling of Frisbie's was changed for the toy in order to avoid patent and copyright infringements.
This relatively ornate pie plate is labeled
This plate has the most ornate impression in our collection. It is a rolling pin on a stylistic S. The "S" could be interpreted as rolled-out dough.
It is a matter of opinion whether this Mrs. Robbinson pie plate is more ornate than the Mrs Smith pie plate. Perhaps we can convene the country fair judges to decide. The writing says,
"Mrs. Robbinson, Fine Restaurant Pie, Table Talk, Inc., Deposit."
There are fifteen ventilation holes.
"Mrs" in this case has a period at the end; Mrs Smith has not.
Notice that "Robbinson" has two letter B's.
The simple labeling, TT, assumedly means
This is the only pie plate in our collection that has
ventilation holes punched in the side.
It has sixteen holes, the most of any other pie plate in the collection..