History of Classic Toys, The Frisbee

Posted by GoGo Goodie on January 29, 2012.

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Chances are if you walked into any American house and nosed around long enough you would find one of these, a Frisbee.  Whether it's in the beach bag ready for the next beach outing or wedged between boxes in the garage, most everyone has one!  So, I felt that our recent dive into the history of classic and retro toys would not be complete without the Frisbee!

The roots of the Frisbee trace back to Santa Monica, California in 1938 when Walter Frederick Morrison started to sell pie tins for 25 cents at the beach.  The pie tins, which they bought for 5 cents, were perfect for flinging back and forth in a game of toss. Morrison continued selling the pie tins with his future wife, Lucile, until the beginning of World War II.  During the next few years he served in the Army and even was a prisoner of war.


After the war, Morrison began work on improving the flying pie tin.  His aerodynamic disc was called the Whirlo-Way.  By 1948 Morrison and business partner Warren Franscioni started to manufacture the new toy out of plastic.  They also renamed the toy "Flyin-Saucer" in response to recent UFO sightings.  The pair worked fairs, stores and the beach demonstrating the flying disc.  People loved them and sales were sift.  Morrison continued to play with design improvements and in 1955 introduced a disc called the Pluto Platter.

Morrison playing with the Pluto Platter

A couple of years later, in 1957, Morrison sold the rights to his flying disc to Wham-O. The following year a patent was awarded to Morrison for the flying disc toy.  The founder of Wham-O, Richard Knerr, decided to brand the Pluto Platter "Frisbee" when he learned that Connecticut college students had nicknamed the disc Frisbie after Frisbie's Pies.  In later interviews, Morrison is on record stating he thought the name Frisbee was a horrible choice.  But in 1982 he revealed his latest royalty check was for $2,000,000 and he wouldn't change the name of the Frisbee for the world!

Wham-O continued to improve the disc, making it more streamlined and easier to control. They marketed the toy as a new sport game and introduced "professional" models. Sales, as a result, continued to soar.  Later the IFA (International Frisbee Association) was formed and the sport continued to expand.

Thanks for stopping by GoGo Goodie for our walk down classic toy memory lane!  Now it's time to grab our Frisbee and head to the front yard for a little fun.  Leave us a comment and let us know your favorite retro toy.....


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