In 1871 William Russell Frisbie made delicious fresh pies from his home in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They were so popular that in 1905 before power became available Frisbie built his own basement power plant to meet the demand. In 1915 his son built a three-story Bridgeport bakery for the Frisbie Pie Company. The pies sold for five cents and were delivered around the region by horse and wagon. By the early 1920s the bakery produced nine tons of pies daily, that was more than 50,000 pies per day. It took a fleet of 200 trucks to deliver the pies to thousands. Frisbie had no way of knowing his legacy would straddle three centuries. He baked pies from 1871 to 1956.
Eventually, it was the tins that the pies were baked in that made Frisbie a household name. Employees flung the heavy metal pie tins during lunch break. Nearby schoolchildren tossed the plates around and yelled “Frisbie” so they wouldn’t get hit by the spinning tins. The game made its way to nearby college campuses. Yale students skimmed them on the New Haven Green. Word spread, and California-based Wham-O, which sold a similarly-shaped plastic disc called a Pluto Platter in the 1950s, found out the game had become popular in the East Coast and began selling it as a Frisbee, changing the name slightly to avoid trademark issues. The pie tins, plastic toy, and sweet memories were all that remained of this once flourishing pie company.
Interestingly enough at about the time of the demise of the Frisbie Pie Company a child was born who later in life found an old pie tin at a tag sale just after college. An avid Frisbee player at the time, Dan O’Connor, a Fairfield, CT resident, hadn’t realized the extensive local history connected to the classic toy. “At the time something clicked and I started collecting,” O’Connor said of finding the pie tin. Over the next few decades, he found hundreds of metal Frisbie pie tins at tag sales, flea markets, antique shops, and online. Then, nearly a decade ago, he hit the Frisbie jackpot and came across old handwritten recipe books and photographs at an estate sale. “I’ve always thought about bringing back the Frisbie Pie Co.,” he said. “It has been a vision for 30 years.” The opportunity to do just that appeared several years ago. Through his connections in the world of sales and marketing, O’Connor found out who held the trademark for the brand name. “I was able to get the license and distribution rights to the name,” With that the Frisbie Pie Factory was back! O’Connor then replicated the recipes for 4” blueberry, apple and cherry pies. “Somewhere along the line it became destiny”, O’Connor said he is determined to place Frisbie pies in the hands of as many people as he can.
For years Dan has orchestrated and run a Frisbee sport festival in Bridgeport with athletes and fans from all over the world gathering for competition and fun. Dan, the president and CEO of the new pie company delivers hundreds of mini pies himself in a 1936 replica van of the old Frisbie trucks.
Customers who remember the wonderful pies are excited their old favorites are available again. O’Connor plans to grow the brand with larger pies and more flavors. “With some of the products that will be coming down the line we have an exciting future for the Frisbie Pie Co.,” he said.