WHEN DAN O’CONNOR PICKED UP an old Frisbie Pie Company tin at a tag sale more than 30 years ago, he knew he had a piece of history in his hands. After all, the long-gone Connecticut bakery was the namesake of the wildly popular Frisbee flying disc.
The find made O’Connor, an avid Ultimate Frisbee and disc golf player, hungry for anything Frisbie. “I started collecting as many pie tins as I could,” he says, amassing close to 100 Frisbie tins from tag sales, antique shops, and flea markets. Then, after decades of buying old Frisbie pencils, coin holders, and other knick-knacks, O’Connor hit the jackpot.
Ten years ago, at an estate sale auction in Hartford, Connecticut, O’Connor won a bidding war on recipes and photographs that once belonged to a Frisbie Pie Company plant manager. Even before his purchase, O’Connor had dreamed about owning a bigger piece of the Frisbie pie legacy: the company trademark. He discovered it still existed, but the owner, another pie company, wasn’t using it.
So he licensed it. “I believe it was my destiny,” he says. Now in his fifties, he’d already had a long career in the consumer packaged goods industry, working as a trade marketing manager at Pepperidge Farm and a sales manager with Campbell Soup Company. It turned out to be good preparation for restarting an iconic Connecticut pie business.
The Frisbie Pie Company got its name from William Russell Frisbie, a Civil War veteran who moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1871 to manage a new branch of the Olds Baking Company. Soon, Frisbie purchased the bakery and renamed it after himself. After his death in 1903, his son, Joseph Peter Frisbie, took over. Along with opening bakeries in Hartford, Poughkeepsie, and Providence, Joseph created a pie rimmer modeled after a potter’s wheel, and a cruster that could process 80 pies in a minute.
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