Friday, February 12, 2010

Frisbee inventor dies at 90

From CNN:
[Fred] Morrison died this week at his home in Utah, said Jen Derevensky, a spokeswoman for Wham-O, the company that has sold the official version of the flying disc since signing a contract with Morrison in 1957.

The company has sold more than 200 million Frisbees to date, Derevensky said Friday.

Morrison started experimenting with flying disc designs in 1937 after his girlfriend's uncle invited him outside to toss the lid from a popcorn tin, according to Wham-O.

Later, Morrison borrowed a cake pan from his mother's kitchen to throw with the girlfriend, who later became his wife. He was soon hawking "Flyin' Cake Pans" for 25 cents on beaches and parks around Los Angeles, California.

A fighter pilot during World War II, Morrison was shot down and held as a prisoner of war for 48 days, according to Wham-O.

After the war, he became a carpenter, drawing up plans for aerodynamic discs in his free time. His plastic Whirl-Away was a commercial flop, but the better-designed Pluto Platter sold well enough to attract the attention of the Southern California-based Wham-O, which would soon begin selling the Hula Hoop.

Wham-O took the name Frisbee from a group of New England college students who'd been throwing empty tins from the local Frisbie Pie Co. The company quickly trademarked the term.

I've always loved tossing Frisbees, and it's sad to see the inventor pass on.

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