In 1920s Yale students discover the fun of throwing pie tins from the Frisbie Baking Company of Bridgeport, CT. In 1948 Fred Morrison, California carpenter and building inspector, manufactures the first plastic flying disc and in 1964 the Professional model FRISBEE disc is introduced. Finally in 1967 the International FRISBEE Association is founded.
In 1871, William Russell Frisbie moved from Bransford, Connecticut, where his father, Russell, had operated a successful grist mill, to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Hired to manage a new bakery, a branch of the Olds Baking Company of New Haven, he soon bought it outright and named it the Frisbie Pie Company. William Russell died in 1903 and his son, Joseph, manned the ovens until his death in 1940.
Hungry college students soon discovered that the empty pie tins could be tossed and caught, providing endless hours of game and sport. 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. It is claimed Yale students bought Frisbie’s pies and tossed the prototype all over Eli’s campus. These early throwers would exclaim “Frisbie” to signal the catcher.
For decades kids had played catch with metal pie tins. The sport grew in popularity during the Depression, and soldiers spread it across the country during the war. The game had a few drawbacks. The tins made a shrill noise, and if you didn’t catch them just right, they stung. After a few crash landings they could crack or develop sharp edges that cut fingers. Morrison and Franscioni thought of casting them in plastic, a material proliferated by wartime industry.
Walter Frederick Morrison came to Warren Franscioni in 1947, looking for work. Both men had been Army Air Corps pilots in World War II. Maj. Franscioni served with the Air Transport Service in India and China; Lt. Morrison flew a fighter in 58 missions over Italy before being shot down and held in Stalag 13, Germany’s infamous prison camp.
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 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’. They pair first saw Morrison’s Pluto Platter in late 1955, when Morrison was demonstrating his Pluto Platter in a Los Angeles parking lot. Rich Knerr and Spud Melin spotted the unusual flying object and convinced Morrison to sell them the rights to his design. With a deal signed, Wham-O began production (1957) of more Pluto Platters. The next year, the original Frisbie Baking Company shut down and coincidentally Fred Morrison was awarded a patent for his flying disc. Morrison, to date, has received over one million dollars in royalties for his invention.
The word ‘Frisbee’ is pronounced the same as the word ‘Frisbie’. Rich Knerr (Wham-O) was in search of a catchy new name to help increase sales, after hearing about the original use of the terms ‘Frisbie’ and ‘Frisbie-ing’. He borrowed from the two words to create the registered trademark Frisbee?. Sales soared for the toy, due to Wham-O’s clever marketing of Frisbee playing as a new sport. In 1964, the first professional model went on sale. Ed Headrick was the inventor at Wham-O who patented Wham-O’s designs for the modern frisbee. Headrick invented the great aerodynamic qualities of the perfectly curved modern frisbee.
In 1968, in the Columbia High School, staff members of the school?s newspaper, The Colombian, and its Student Council developed an entirely new sport as a gag and an activity for their high school nights. Led by Joel Silver, member of the Council and the newspaper, the students adapted the rules of Frisbee Football and ultimately invented the fast-moving team sport we know today. The sport of Ultimate. A recognized sport that is a cross between football, soccer and basketball. Ten years later, a form of Frisbee golf was introduced, complete with professional playing courses and associations.
Thirty years after Silver?s prophetic words, Ultimate is played in 42 countries, with programs in Sweden, Norway, and Japan receiving government funding. It is estimated that at least 100,000 people play the sport worldwide, about half in the United States. Ultimate was a medal sport in the 2001 World Games in Japan.