Wham-O! Another One Bites the Dust

The inventor of the Frisbee, Walter (Fred) Morrison, passed away at the age of 90, on February 9, 2010.

The Frisbee goes back over seventy years, to 1937, when he got the idea to make a flying-saucer toy when he and his girlfriend tossed a popcorn-tin lid back and forth for fun!  The lid eventually became dented enough to no longer be aerodynamic, so Morrison began throwing all different kinds of disks to find out which one would fly the best.  From there, he then began selling flying cake pans in the Los Angeles area for 25 cents a piece.

Morrison learned about aerodynamics while a bomber pilot during World War II.  Then during the  1950s, he went on to create an aerodynamic disc made of plastic.  Since the nation was obsessed with UFOs and flying saucers at the time, he called his inventions the Pluto Platter!

In 1957, Hula Hoop manufacturer, Wham-O, bought the rights to Morrison’s invention and renamed it; the Frisbee, because it was similar to the pie pans from the Frisbie Pie Company, that some people enjoyed tossing around.

“The world has changed a lot in the past 50 years, but the original purpose of the Frisbee has remained constant,” Morrison said in 2007, on the 50th anniversary of his invention.  He also said “Just seeing the smile on a child’s face as he or she catches a soaring disc on a summer afternoon in the park, or seeing a grown-up diving headfirst to grab a falling disc, that is what the spirit of the Frisbee is all about.”

I lift my frisbee up to you Mr. Morrison!  Thanks for all the fun!

About Greg Turner

Greg Turner (@gregturner16) is Back to the Past’s archivist and an auctioneer. He writes the columns “Fabulous Finds” and “Retro Reviews” on alternating weeks for the website and spins classic 45′s each week for Vinyl Tuesdays.

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