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Walter Frederick Morrison

Morrison claimed that the original idea for a flying disc toy came to him in 1937, while throwing a lard can lid with his girlfriend, Lu, whom he later married. The lard can lid soon dented which led to the discovery that cake pans flew better and were more common. Morrison and Lu developed a little business selling “Flyin’ Cake Pans” on the beaches of Santa Monica, California.

In 1946, he sketched out a design (called the Whirlo-Way) for the world’s first flying disc. In 1948 an investor, Warren Franscioni, paid for molding the design in plastic. They named it the Flyin-Saucer. In 1954, Fred bought more of the Saucers from the original molders to sell at local fairs, but found he could produce his own disc more cheaply. In 1955, he and Lu designed the Pluto Platter, the archetype of all modern flying discs. On January 23, 1957, they sold the rights for the Pluto Platter to the Wham-O toy company. Initially Wham-O continued to market the toy solely as the “Pluto Platter”, but later in 1957 they also began using the name Frisbee after learning that students were calling the Pluto Platter by that name. Morrison also invented several other products for Wham-O, but none were as successful as the Pluto Platter.

For more, read the The Complete Book of Frisbee.

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Originally posted by Dane Carlson on January 23, 2013 in History.

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