By Carmen Newman
When Kathy Levo was still a sprig of a kid, she was given a stool and a small blue Pyrex pie pan.
Yet, too small to reach the counters in her mother’s kitchen, she utilized the stool to reach the height she needed to follow her mother around the counters and learn the magic of baking great pies.
When her mother would make pies, Levo would use her Pyrex pan and make her own. A life-long affection of pies and pie pans took wings from the time spent with her mother.
Levo moved to Hillsboro, from South Bedford, Pa., and became Highland County’s extension agent in December 1970. Shortly thereafter, she married John Levo, a banker in Hillsboro. She later became a teacher in the Hillsboro City School District. They are both now retired.
Not long after the Levos met, they found a pie pan in an antique shop that had the name of the city of Boston imprinted on one side and a map of the United States on the other. Kathy Levo decided she wanted that pan for the patriotic feel it possessed. It was her first piece in her collection outside of the pan she used as a child.
The Boston pan is her favorite to this day. She and John Levo have been enjoying their mutual interest collecting pie pans and the stories that go with them ever since.
The Levos have an extensive collection of approximately 150 to 200 pans from all over the United States. Most are imprinted with the name of the bakery, hotel, boat or other business from which they came.
Their collection is displayed on open shelves, a vintage Blue Bird pie rack, various cubbies around the house, and many hang with the help of Velcro strips from the walls.
According to Kathy Levo, the names were stamped into the metal and, like soda pop and milk bottles of old, were subject to a deposit that was returned when the pan was returned. The pan then was traced via the imprint and sent back to the company from which the pan came. After a proper cleaning, the pan began a new journey filled with yet another tasty treat.
As the years pass, antique pie pans are getting harder to find. When they do show up in shops, auctions and places such as ebay, prices can run from a few dollars to well into the hundreds or more.
One plate the Levos would like to have, but have not found, is a Frisbies Pie pan.
Frisbies was a company founded by William Russell Frisbie in Bridgeport, Conn., in 1871. School children playing near the company would nab some of the company’s pans and toss them around yelling “Frisbie” as a warning to others that a pie pan was flying through the air. College students picked up on the fun, and the game of Frisbee became popular worldwide.
Carmen Newman resides in Berrysville, just outside of Hillsboro, with her husband, Rodney, and various critters including Huck the miniature horse. She enjoys writing and life on the farm.
Kathy Levo’s tips for the perfect pie crust
• Use ice water and chilled, butter-flavored Crisco in the flour with a bit of salt.
• Don’t over-work the crust dough, and roll it out on wax paper.
• If making one of her favorites, a mixed berry pie, cook the berries down before putting them in the pie to bake.