The Birth of the Frisbee

July 13, 2012

Who? Where? When? Why? How...

Ultimate Frisbee is a new team sport that’s popularity has raipdly grown in London and the UK over the past few years. I had not really heard of it, and after travelling last year I realised how big it actually was in countries like New Zealand and America. I was then intrigued into where it actually originated…

Inspiration for a new idea can come from anywhere. You can never tell quite when it will hit you. It always comes at the most random times, and stems from the most unexpected of things. We’ve all thrown around random household objects – howcome I haven’t managed to create a new sport and made a lot of money from throwing around a cake tin?

It is because Walter Morrison beat me to it. This random act helped to develop the modern Frisbee. He and his future wife were on a beach one-day tossing around one of their cake tins, when someone approached them and offered to buy it 25¢, when it only cost them 5¢.


Morrison then realised that people were willing to purchase a new toy that he could produce. But sadly his plans had to be put on hold for a little while. Morrison was called away to fight in WWII as a US Air Force pilot. Upon his return home he drafted the design for a new and aerodynamically improved disc. He called this disk a “Whirlo-Way.”

New products are hardly ever ready on their first go. It took many prototypes and modifications before he and his new business partner, Warren Franscioni, got it right.

This partnership was short lived; only lasting 2 years. The disc was further developed and a new one was released in 1955. Two years later Morrison sold the right to the new “Pluto Platter” to Wham-O.

The word “Frisbee” did not come about until 1957 when Wham-O decided to give the product that brand name. Apparently college students in Connecticut were calling the disc a Frisbee, which came from their familiarity with the Frisbee Pie Company in Bridge Port Connecticut, which I am speculating were probably in circular cake tin. Talk about coming full circle! 

Have you tried out Ultimate Frisbee? It is actually suprisingly a lot more fun than you may initially imagine.


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