The Frisbee is probably the most popular ‘Fad’ of all time.
First produced in the late 1950s after inventor Walter Frederick Morrison conceived the idea while throwing a metal cake pan on the beach in California to his wife, Lu, this plastic dinner plate has become a permanent fixture on beaches and in parks around the world. It is also now a formally recognised sporting event.
Originally Morrison named the toy the “Pluto Platter” to capitalise on the flying saucer craze of the 1950s and sold it directly at local fairs.
Onlookers sometimes thought the disc’s unusual flight pattern was caused by unseen wires. For a while, Morrison sold “invisible wire” with the disc thrown in for free.
Morrison sold the patent in 1957 to the Wham-O Manufacturing Company (who also owned the patent for the Hula Hoop), who realised that many of the kids using the toy were nicknaming them the “Frisbie” (after the name of a popular East Coast pie bakery).
In order to avoid copyright infringement, the company decided to change the spelling and re-brand the Pluto Platter or “Frisbie”. In 1959 they registered the name “Frisbee” as a trademark.
The Frisbee was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Frisbee inventor Fred Morrison died at his home in California on 9 February 2010, aged 90.