Vern is an established sports writer who has dedicated his career to the world of Ultimate Frisbee. With his work appearing in numerous sports magazines, Vern has had the privilege of interviewing some of the sport's top athletes. His passion lies in bringing Ultimate Frisbee to the forefront of sports news and helping to expand its fan base.
The term 'Frisbee' has a fascinating and somewhat whimsical origin story. The name is actually derived from the Frisbie Pie Company, a business based in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The company’s pie tins, when flipped upside down, made for excellent makeshift flying discs, and soon enough, the pie tin tossing game became a popular pastime among students at nearby colleges and universities.
Meet the Frisbie Pie Company: The Unexpected Birthplace of the Frisbee
The Frisbie Pie Company was founded by William Russell Frisbie in 1871. The company quickly became known for its delicious pies, but it was their pie tins that would have an enduring impact on popular culture. The tins were marked with the company's logo, which included the word 'Frisbie.'
Students from local universities, including Yale, began tossing the empty pie tins to each other, shouting 'Frisbie!' as a warning before each throw. This early game was the precursor to the sport we now know as Ultimate Frisbee.
The Evolution of Fun: How the Pie Tin Transformed into the Modern Frisbee
It wasn't until the mid-20th century that the pie tin evolved into the plastic disc we're familiar with today. Walter Frederick Morrison and his business partner Warren Franscioni invented a plastic version of the Frisbie pie tin, which they called the 'Flying Saucer.'
After their partnership ended, Morrison made further improvements to the design and renamed it the 'Pluto Platter.' It was this design that caught the attention of the Wham-O toy company in 1957.
Evolution of Frisbee Design
Wham-O bought the rights to the Pluto Platter and, recognizing the disc's origins, rebranded it as the 'Frisbee.' The company added the now iconic ridges on the surface of the disc for better aerodynamics and grip.
After acquiring the rights to the Pluto Platter, Wham-O decided to rebrand. The following video showcases the first commercial for the newly named 'Frisbee':
As shown in the commercial, Wham-O successfully marketed the Frisbee, turning it into a household name and a popular outdoor toy. The name 'Frisbee' has stuck around ever since, becoming synonymous with any flying disc toy.