It may be interesting to discover who invented the Frisbee. Now one of the famous playthings to most of the children and adults in many countries, learning the earlier invention in history may be quite worthy to dig up.
However, finding the answer is not really that easy.
As such, just like many other earlier inventions, there are many who claim the credit of being the person who invented the Frisbee.
The First Set of Pie Tins and the Initial Claims to Glory
During this era, pies were made and sold by the Frisbie Baking Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. There were lots of college students from various New England colleges who bought these pies. And it was said that the students later discovered that the empty pie tins can be used for play by tossing and catching it.
Because of this tale, many of the colleges in the area tried to bag the credit for the person who invented the playing of Frisbee. They wanted to be the school of “he who was first to fling.”
To get the claim, one of the colleges, Yale College, even mentioned a tale that in 1820, Elihu Frisbee, an undergraduate, was the real Frisbee inventor. It was said that Elihu grabbed a collection tray in the chapel and threw it across the campus – thus, creating the first Frisbee fling.
However, this is not a true account since all the pie tins made in those times bore the words “Frisbie’s Pies” where the word “Frisbie” was later derived to name the toy.
The Plastic Frisbee Version and the Other Inventors
Together with Warren Franscioni, Walter Frederick Morrison, a building inspector in Los Angeles, invented another version of the Frisbee toy in 1948. It was made of plastic so that it could fly further and have more accuracy. But before this invention could become successful, their partnership ended.
Alone, Morrison continued with the invention, and was able to come up with a plastic Frisbee design. This was called “Pluto Platter” because of the growing fame of UFO’s in those days. This design had then set the standard design for later versions of the toy.
Gaining More Popularity with Toy Makers and Toy Lovers
Rich Knerr and A.K. ‘Spud’ Melin of Wham-O (a new toy firm) got interested in Morrison’s Frisbee design that they asked Morrison to sell the rights to them. After the deal signing, the toy company worked to produce more of the plastic Frisbee versions known as Pluto Platters. Other toys like the Hula-Hoop, and Water Wiggle – to mention a few – are also marketed by the Wham-O company.
In 1958, the original food company known as the Frisbie Baking Company ceased its operations. And, during that time, Morrison got a design patent for the Pluto Platters, and received over a million in US dollars for the invention’s royalties.
To boost sales, Rich Knerr combined the original terms, “Frisbie” and “Frisbie-ing” and created the word Frisbee that had become the registered trademark of the flying disc toy.
Since then, Frisbee playing spread throughout the land – including schools from other states. And, eventually, a sport named as the “Ultimate Frisbee” was invented by high school students in 1967 in Maplewood, New Jersey. This became a recognized sport that is similar to a football, basketball, and soccer in many ways.
For the person who invented the Frisbee during those early years of pie-eating delights, who would’ve guessed that an empty pie tin could actually start a worldwide love for flinging a flying disc resembling the original circular form of the pie tins.