Frisbee Walter Fredrick Morrison, the man who invented the Frisbee – the simple plastic disc that became a billion-dollar craze and a symbol of misspent youth on beaches, parks, and university campuses all over the world – has died February 9, 2010, at the age of ninety.
His simple sports innovation – a plastic, aerodynamic disc – has become one of the most popular toys in American history, uniting beachgoers, college kids, and competitive teams for half a century.
How did Morrison come up with the idea? The Frisbie Baking Company (1871-1958) of Bridgeport, Connecticut, made pies that were sold to many New England colleges. Hungry college students soon discovered that the empty pie tins could be tossed and caught, providing endless hours of game and sport. Many colleges have claimed to be the home of ‘he who was first to fling.’ Yale College has even argued that in 1820, a Yale undergraduate named Elihu Frisbie grabbed a passing collection tray from the chapel and flung it out into the campus, thereby becoming the true inventor of the Frisbie and winning glory for Yale. That tale is unlikely to be true since the words ‘Frisbie’s Pies’ was embossed in all the original pie tins and from the word ‘Frisbie’ was coined the common name for the toy.
In 1948, a Los Angeles building inspector named Walter Frederick Morrison and his partner Warren Franscioni invented a plastic version of the Frisbie that could fly further and with better accuracy than a tin pie plate. Morrison’s father was also an inventor, who invented the automotive sealed-beam headlight. Another interesting tidbit was that Morrison had just returned to America after World War II, where he had been a prisoner in the infamous Stalag 13. His partnership with Warren Franscioni, who was also a war veteran, ended before their product had achieved any real success.
Morrison (after his split with Franscioni) produced a plastic Frisbie called the Pluto Platter, to cash in on the growing popularity of UFOs with the American public. The Pluto Platter has become the basic design for all Frisbies. The outer third of the Frisbie disc is called the ‘Morrison Slope’, listed in the patent. Rich Knerr and A.K. ‘Spud’ Melin were the owners of a new toy company called ‘Wham-O’. Knerr and Melin also marketed the Hula-Hoop, the Super Ball and the Water Wiggle. They pair first saw Morrison’s Pluto Platter in late 1955. They liked what they saw and convinced Morrison to sell them the rights to his design. With a deal signed, Wham-O began production (1/13/1957) of more Pluto Platters. The next year, the original Frisbie Baking Company shut down and coincidentally Fred Morrison was awarded a patent (Design patent 183,626) for his flying disc. Morrison received over one million dollars in royalties for his invention.
Wham-O Inc. changed the name of the Pluto Platter to Frisbee 53 years ago, flinging a new word into popular culture that still conjures images of carefree fun in the park and breezy days at the beach.
Morrison thought the new name would never fly, and say he never liked the new name.
Today the 53 year old Frisbee® is owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers, only one of at least sixty manufacturers of flying discs. Wham-O sold over one hundred million units before the selling the toy to Mattel.

4 Responses so far.

  1. […] Walter Frederick Morrison, l'homme qui a inventé le Frisbee – le disque en plastique simple qui est devenu un milliard de dollar engouement et un symbole de dépravation de la jeunesse sur les plages, les parcs et les campus universitaires du monde entier – est mort Février 9, 2010, à la l'âge de quatre-vingt. Sa simple sport de l'innovation – une matière plastique, disques aérodynamiques [. . . ] URL article original: http://www.epidemicfun.com/2010/53th-years-of-name-frisbee/ […]

  2. […] Walter Frederick Morrison, el hombre que inventó el disco volador – el disco de plástico simple que se convirtió en una locura de miles de millones de dólares y un símbolo de juventud desperdiciada en las playas, parques y universidades de todo el mundo – ha muerto 9 de febrero 2010, en el edad de noventa años. Su deportivas de la innovación – un plástico, disco aerodinámicas [. . . ] URL del artículo original http://www.epidemicfun.com/2010/53th-years-of-name-frisbee/ […]

  3. Harley Wu says:

    I like playing with Frisbee

  4. Eleanor says:

    Frisbee is the best!!!

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