Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2013/10/13

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Subject: [Leica] Chennai Heat - the true Frisbee story
From: lrzeitlin at (lrzeitlin at
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2013 11:02:24 -0400 (EDT)

I was a bit brief in describing the history of the Fribee. Here is the 
complete story as cribbed from the internet.
Larry Z
- - - -
The Frisbie Baking Company (1871-1958) of Bridgeport, Connecticut, made 
pies that were sold to many New England colleges. Yale University, the 
closest large college, was their biggest buyer. 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.

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 (U.S. patent 
3,359,678). Ed Headrick's frisbee with its band of raised ridges called 
the Rings of Headrick had stablized flight as opposed to the wobbly 
flight of its predecessor the Pluto Platter.

In 1967, high school students in Maplewood, New Jersey, invented 
Ultimate Frisbee, 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.

Today the fifty 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.