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Who Invented the Frisbee®?

Who Invented the Frisbee?-1

From the delectable pies of the Frisbie Pie Company to the innovations of college students and inventors alike, the invention of the Frisbee® is a captivating tale of ingenuity and playfulness. Join us as we explore the flying tins of fun and the individuals who transformed a simple pastime into a cultural phenomenon.

Flying Tins of Fun: The Story Behind the "Frisbee" Name

Founded in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the Frisbie Pie Company (1871-1958) was renowned for crafting mouthwatering pies that were a staple at numerous New England colleges. Yet, it wasn't the pies, but rather their empty tins that sparked an unforeseen revolution.


Hungry students discovered that the empty pie tins would fly when thrown, and began using the tins as a source of entertainment and fun, birthing the leisurely activity that still exists today.

While many colleges have claimed to be the home of the first flying disk flinger, with Yale arguing undergraduate Elihu Frisbie was the first and true inventor, the words "Frisbie's Pies" were stamped on all the original pie tins and it was from this name that the name "Frisbee" was born.


Taking Flight: Early Inventors and Plastic Innovation

In 1948, the Frisbee took a huge leap forward with the inventive minds of Walter Frederick Morrison and Warren Franscioni. Morrison, a war veteran and son of an automotive headlight inventor, collaborated with Franscioni to create a plastic version that could fly further and with more accuracy than the tin pie plate.

While their partnership ended before their product achieved real success, their improvements laid the groundwork for the Frisbee's future as a beloved flying toy.


From "Frisbie" to "Frisbee": The Marketing Magic of Rich Knerr

The transition from a mere pastime to a cultural phenomenon was not just about flight but also about branding. Inventor Rich Knerr sought a catchy name to propel the Frisbee into popular culture.

Drawing from the original terms "Frisbie" and "Frisbie-ing," Knerr coined the registered trademark "Frisbee." This strategic move, combined with Wham-O®'s innovative marketing, elevated Frisbee playing into a new sport, leading to a surge in sales and the introduction of the first professional model in 1964.


Mastering Flight: Ed Headrick's Rings of Stabilization

Ed Headrick, inventor of Wham-O, revolutionized the Frisbee's flight dynamics by adding a band of raised rings known as the "Rings of Headrick." These rings brought stability to the disc's flight, marking a significant improvement over the wobbly trajectory of its predecessor, the Pluto Platter. Headrick's utility patent for the modern-day Frisbee was issued in December of 1967.

Today, the 50-year-old Frisbee belongs to Mattel® Toy Manufacturers. Mattel is one of at least 60 companies that create flying discs. Before selling the toy to Mattel, Wham-O sold more than 100 million Frisbees.

Reference: The History of the Frisbee

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