Hello, my parents gave me this pie safe that used to belong to my grandma, which I think she got from her aunt or cousin. About six years ago she decided to start stripping and refinishing it. She passed away about four years ago (age 85) and the safe was left unfinished. As far as condition, the safe is mostly disassembled and the finish is partially removed. The remaining finish is deteriorating. Most of the hardware is also removed and some of the pulls/handles are missing. The doors on the front are missing the tin, and it looks like the tin on the sides has been stained over. There is some water damage on the bottom from sitting in her basement for many years. It stands a little less than six feet tall. At this point I'm planning to finish stripping it and try to match it to some other furniture that I've got. I'll likely have to get some reproduction tin for the front doors. However, I am wondering how old it is, and what type of wood it is made from to help me decide how best to finish it. I'd also be interested if anyone knows of a manufacturer. Thanks for any help!
It will be a nice piece. Try not to strip any of the patina or original finish. That joint in the rear makes this piece appear to be a one off. Someone with some skill made it for someone they knew and I doubt it came from a factory. I can't tell what the wood it - some of it looks like poplar but I can't be sure. These were usually made of inexpensive wood for a variety of reasons. The pies attracted creatures great and small and in a rural area, these were routinely savaged by raccoons, fox, bear and the occasional hobo.
Here is an interesting excerpt from the Antiques Road Show. One of the experts says he has only ever seen one that was not pine. Keep reading....
Thanks for the info, I appreciate it! I should have been more clear that the joint in the picture is on the cross piece on the upper right of the inside of the cabinet. I had also hoped to keep the original finish but unfortunately my grandmother managed to strip the doors, shelves, and part of the cabinet down to bare wood. I'm not sure anout the best course of action there. I'm doing some more research with other family members to see if they know where it might have been made. Thanks again!
If you have it down to the bare wood and the train has left the station, then keep on with that plan and use some paste wax as finish when all done. Don't put anything glossy on it.
Thanks for the advice on the wax. I guess my grandma had it for so long that to her it was just "that old cabinet in the basement" so she didn't think twice about removing the finish. It has more value to me as a family piece so I don't plan to sell it to make money or anything.
where on the planet is this piece. I would love to know what kind of wood. Take a door down to a local cabinetmaker.
It's about an hour southwest of Chicago in the same area that my grandma lived her entire life. I did some more investigating tonight and think I've got myself some clues to go after. There is an incredibly light mark on the back with a manufacturer brand that appears to read "R.E. Lasher & Co St. Louis, MO". It looks like there is more text above that but it's too faint to read. I did some searching and could only find one thread on another forum that mentioned this company. There is also a "10" up towards the top. I also found that someone painted "Spring Valley, IL" in the inside upper left of the cabinet. Don't know if that's a delivery destination or if someone replaced the top at some point. That city is only about half an hour west of where my grandma lived. I do plan to get someone to give me a verdict on the wood. I can post what I find if you're interested but it might be a few days.
It now seems to be a manufactured piece since you have given us the stencil markings. Found some history here.
Pie Safe wrote at 2010-10-31 00:27:36
This is a 5 year old post...but, I have an antique "pie safe" with the R.E. Lasher stenciled patent on the back. This piece has been in my family over 100 years. My grandmother told me before she died, that it was her mothers. She was from Alton, Il. Which would make sense, being that it was close to St. Louis where R.E. Lasher and Co. was located. I think if both our pieces have a patent stenciled on the back, that Lasher must have been a small manufacturer around 1890. My pie safe also has C K & Son Carrollton Ills written in big letters across the back by hand. I'm not sure the connection, possibly a freight company that moved it, I'm now states away? My pie safe was also refinished, back in the 50's. My grandmother put a dark shellac on it. I have been rubbing denatured alcohol on it with a clean rag and using a very light steel wool and it is cleaning right off. This piece is made of oak and is really gorgeous once the shellac is removed. It will no doubt have lost it's value with the refinishing, but it is a beautiful piece, so I will keep it. I am thinking of converting it into a T.V. cabinet.
I also have one that belonged to my great-grandmother who lived from 1856 to 1940. It is a 6-tin, tin only on the doors, made out of Poplar. The identification on the back is clear. It reads as follows: Patent Portable Dovetail Safe, Manufactured by R. E. Lasher & Co., 2722 to 2730 S. 3rd St., St. Louis, Mo. Patented April 11, 1882.
Ken Lawler, ST. Paris, Ohio
I have one that my husband and I just got a couple weeks ago. It was in the house that he grew up in, but had been there before he lived in the house. We are reconstructing it now as we speak. In large black letters on the back it says G&F and also on the back it has published in St. Louis MO in 1882, but the tin on the from says 1883 and also there is a #10. I'm not really sure how to make out any of this though. But would quite honestly like to know how much it could be worth if anyone knows.
I thought one of my grandfathers was the maker of the cabinet as he opened Carrollton's first store as well as a railroad. Instead I found this article which leaves me no doubt that Conrad Kergher and his son built the pie safe in question. Chances are my family's railroad moved it to the river where it was put on a boat and sent to a furniture dealer in St Louis.
KERGHER, CONRAD, dealer in furniture, mirrors, caskets, coffins; south side Public Square, Carrollton, Ill. The above named gentleman, one of the most enterprising business men within the borders of Greene County, is a native of Germany, born Sept. 7, 1826. In his twentieth year he determined to make America his future home and accordingly, without entering into particulars relative to the voyage, the year 1846 found our youthful emigrant a resident of Greene County, with a capital of fifty cents in money, but strong will and energy. He found times somewhat out of joint, and accordingly, although a cabinet maker by trade, hired out as carpenter. About 1851 Mr. K. rented the building owned by John Long, and began the manufacture of furniture. To use his own language Mr. K. had for the first few years a hard row to travel, entering into direct competition with others who had both capital and trade established, but he eventually won the day, as his superior work soon found its way into the homes of many of the best families, and now, after many years of stubborn toil and manly grit is the owner of the largest, most commodious and solidly built building in Greene County, in which he keeps constantly on hand an elegant assortment of furniture, unequaled for durability and style in the west, and parties contemplating purchasing will do well to bear this in mind, and instead of going to St. Louis to please remember that home industry is worthy of patronage; that all is not gold that glitters; and that the latest styles of furniture can be purchased as cheaply here as elsewhere.