Flying Disc

Short History

     Walter Frederick Morrison and his future wife Lucile had fun tossing a popcorn can lid in 1937. They soon discovered a market for a light duty flying disc when they were offered 25 cents for a cake pan that they were tossing back and forth on a beach near Los Angeles. After the war, Morrison sketched a design for an aerodynamically improved flying disc that he called the Whirlo-Way. He and business partner Warren Franscioni began producing the first plastic discs by 1948, and renamed them the Flying-Saucer. They ended their partnership in early 1950, and Morrison formed his own company in 1954 called American Trends to buy and sell Flyin Saucers, which were being made of a flexible polypropylene plastic.
     Morrison designed a new model in 1955 called the Pluto Platter and sold the rights to Wham-O in 1957. Wham-O gave the disc the brand name "Frisbee" after learning that college students were calling the Pluto Platter by that term, which was derived from the Connecticut-based pie manufacturer Frisbie Pie Company. The man behind the Frisbee's success, however, was Edward Headrick, hired in 1964 as Wham-O's general manager and vice president of marketing. Headrick redesigned the Pluto Platter, creating a more controllable disc that could be thrown more accurately. Wham-O changed their marketing strategy to promote Frisbee use as a new sport, and sales skyrocketed. In 1964, the first professional model went on sale.
     Headrick became known as the father of Frisbee sports. He founded the International Frisbee Association and appointed Dan Roddick as its head. Roddick began establishing North American Series (NAS) tournament standards for various Frisbee sports and overall events. Competitions in Northern Michigan, the Canadian Open Frisbee Championships (1972), Toronto, the Vancouver Open Frisbee Championships (1974), the Octad (1974), New Jersey, the American Flying Disc Open (1974), Rochester, NY and the World Frisbee Championships (1974), Pasadena, CA are the earliest Frisbee competitions that presented the Frisbee as a new disc sport. Before these tournaments, the Frisbee was considered a toy and used for recreation.