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Father of the Frisbee Dies At 90 89

Posted by timothy
from the contributed-many-years-of-aggregate-pleasure dept.
theodp writes "Walter Fredrick Morrison, whose post-World War II invention of a 'flying' plastic disc became the American recreational icon known as the Frisbee, has died at age 90 of age-related causes (great obit pic). Wham-O Inc. has sold more than 200 million Frisbees since Morrison sold the company the rights to what he called the Pluto Platter in 1957. The roots of today's aerodynamic Frisbees go back to 1937, when Morrison and his future wife tossed a large popcorn can lid back and forth for fun during a Thanksgiving party."
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Father of the Frisbee Dies At 90

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 13, 2010 @05:44PM (#31130154)

    His soul has gone up on the roof and gotten stuck there.

  • Farewell (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @05:45PM (#31130160)
    Farewell Sir, My dog thanks you.
  • by binarylarry (1338699) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @05:48PM (#31130190)

    I seem to recall watching a documentary that showed the frisbee being invented some time back in 1885 or 1886.

    • I seem to recall firsbee's being invented before the 5th century BC...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discus [wikipedia.org]
      • And the boomerang which was used in Australia before the Greeks existed.

        • Well, if we're talking about things we throw, I believe my spear trumps your boomerang.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MichaelSmith (789609)

            Well, if we're talking about things we throw, I believe my spear trumps your boomerang.

            But my boomerang comes back, and it flies a lot better then a discus or a spear. More like a Frisbee in fact.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sure, discus is older, but last person I know who played catch with a discus ended up with about 12 stitches in his head.

        You can argue that frisbee is an evolution of the discus, and I would agree with you, but it is certainly a new and separate item.

    • Re:Not accurate (Score:4, Informative)

      by lazybeam (162300) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:09PM (#31130758) Homepage

      You mean in September 1885, by a Mr Martin McFly (pseudonym Clint Eastwood)? In that case there's only 5 more years until I get my hoverboard!

    • I seem to recall watching a documentary that showed the frisbee being invented some time back in 1885 or 1886.

      ..Just look at his picture [latimes.com] ..these are sure 1930's futuristic clothes! =D

    • Re:Not accurate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Graff (532189) on Sunday February 14, 2010 @12:05AM (#31132300)

      I seem to recall watching a documentary that showed the frisbee being invented some time back in 1885 or 1886.

      The Frisbie was originally the pie plate used by the Frisbie Pie Company [about.com] to bake and sell its pies in. Yale students were throwing them around in games since the late 1800's, well before Fred Morrison came up with his "Pluto Platter". Wham-O decided to re-name the Pluto Platter to the Frisbie because that's what it was already widely called, then they had to re-name it again to "Frisbee" in order to avoid trademark infringement.

      • by farrellj (563) *

        Actually, the flying disk goes way back to before the 16th century...it is called a Chakram, and we have seen it recently in popular culture as Xena's weapon of choice, that flying disk of hers is a real, ancient and deadly weapon. The Sikhs of India used it to great effect against their enemies, it being deadly at great distances, as well as very accurate. This page has a good write up of the objects: http://www.flight-toys.com/rings/chackrum.html [flight-toys.com]

        ttyl
        Farrell

        • by Graff (532189)

          Actually, the flying disk goes way back to before the 16th century...it is called a Chakram

          There are many examples throughout history of flat, circular objects that were thrown for various reasons. Someone else talked about the discus [wikipedia.org] which has been around since at least 500 BC (and probably much earlier too). There's also a lot of evidence of people throwing around cookie tin lids and other improvised pieces of sports equipment.

          The point is that the modern Frisbee started out as the pie tin for the Frisbie Pie Company and it was not invented by Fred Morrison. His innovation was making a flying d

    • by pizzach (1011925)
      I also believe the documentary kept stating 88MPH was paramount for crossing the ravine of popularity.
  • Didn't that teach us frisbees were pie pans?
  • I mean... it's kinda appropriate. isn't?

  • My father still has one of the original Pluto Platters (the first commercially produced flying disc) that he made. Sad to see him go, the thing still flies great today (though we dont throw it much as the plastic has grown brittle).
  • College students every mourn.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    He didn't invent anything, he's just the one who had the idea of selling "popcorn can lids" as "flying disks" and convinced a toy company it was a good idea?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
      He didn't invent anything, he's just the one who had the idea of selling "popcorn can lids" as "flying disks" and convinced a toy company it was a good idea?

      And you've sold several hundred million units of what, exactly?
  • by operator_error (1363139) <spztoid@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Saturday February 13, 2010 @06:59PM (#31130694)

    Aerobies are waaay more fun. To take mine away, you'll have to pry it from my cold, dead, ...oh wait.

    http://www.aerobie.com/Products/Sprint.htm [aerobie.com]

    "The farthest object thrown by man"

    • Boomerangs have delighted children for millenia.

      • The "boomerang" aerobie is triangular. You can get a curve out of the ring-shaped ones, but it's not quite the same. You'd have to be incredibly skilled to get it to come back to you.

        Also, the aerobie orbiter is much easier to throw than a real boomerang.

        • by Denjiro (55957)

          The Orbiter also flies absurd distances. I bought one at an American Eagle outlet of all places back around '90 or so. Tried it out in the parking lot immediately. Thought I'd lost it on the first throw, but it kept going in a large circle until it started coming back. It landed nowhere near close enough to catch it but it was only about 30 feet from start. The circle path if flew in was probably in the 200 to 300 foot in diameter range.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by martinX (672498)
        Boomerangs have delighted children, rendered roos unconscious and fed families for millenia :-)
        • Boomerangs have delighted children, rendered roos unconscious and fed families for millenia :-)

          For generations, when my family has fallen on hard times, we have had to resort to eating boomerangs to survive. What they lack in flavour they make up for in fibre.

    • by martinX (672498)
      Looks like fun - I'll keep an eye out for them in my country. Must say, though, pretty blaaahhh website. Amongst other things, two movies: a very short animated gif and a 3 minute WMV of people just chucking the thing with generic 'exciting' music.
    • by rickshaf (736907)
      Everything has its place, and the Aerobie's place needs to be really BIG, because they fly faaaaaaar! Alan Adler, the (extremely clever) inventor of the Aerobie flying ring, recognized this when he came out with his own line of flying disks. True to form, they fly really, really well!
  • What about the mom? Giving birth to a frisbee must have hurt.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:09PM (#31130754)

    I invention of a 'flying' plastic disc

    Why the quotes? A disc generates real aerodynamic lift; anyone who plays Ultimate can tell you that. Throw right-handed and drop the outside edge, and it will curve to the right. Raise it and aim a bit out and up, and you can throw an "outside in" (aim up and out because, like with a plane, you have to compensate for lift being generated at an angle, which means less lift straight-up. You also have slip.) Tilt the disc upwards but throw it downwards, and it'll appear to "bounce."

    Also: don't call a "disc" a Frisbee around an Ultimate player. Why? Wham-O saw a bunch of people playing this game called Ultimate, freaked out that someone was using their product for a game. They then tried to a)control it and then when that failed, b)made their own game to try and drown it out. It was a pretty despicable and petty move. Now they mostly spend their time chasing down anyone who uses the word "frisbee". Had they simply been content to sell discs, they'd be selling them by the boatload to Ultimate players. Instead, they got greedy and it backfired on 'em.

    Also, Ultrastar's discs (considered the standard) are much more easier on the hand for most, and tend to fly better.

    • by Bruinwar (1034968)
      Ultrastar is Discraft's 175g, correct? http://www.discraft.com/ultprod.html [discraft.com] Personally I prefer the Sky-Styler (160g) but then I don't play Ultimate. I always correct people when they call one of my Discraft disks a frisbee, it is a sports disk! Way better than Wham-o's frisbee. Made in the U.S. also!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by rickshaf (736907)
      Uh, actually, no airfoil, either fixed or rotary, generates lift. For example, the wing of an airplane sitting on the ground generates no lift unless air is flowing over it. A frisbee sitting on the ground is just the same. Only when the person flying it imparts a force to it does it "fly". Another way of looking at this is to hold a frisbee at shoulder height in a horizontal position and then drop it. It will float in a semi-stable position down to the ground, because it has a large cross-sectional ar
      • Uh, actually, no airfoil, either fixed or rotary, generates lift.

        Uh, whut? "The shape of the disc, an airfoil in cross-section, allows it to fly by generating lift as it moves through the air while rotating." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_disc [wikipedia.org] ).

        If you're trying to say "it doesn't generate lift unless it is moving"...well, uh, no shit, sherlock?

  • His invention went far.
  • very sad. (Score:5, Funny)

    by dissolved (887190) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @07:16PM (#31130824)
    I don't want to discus this.
    • by grcumb (781340)

      I don't want to discus this.

      Yeah, the poor guy must be spinning in his grave.

  • by dchamp (89216) on Saturday February 13, 2010 @09:05PM (#31131414)

    That's sad.

    I have a Wham-O Pluto Platter I found in the attic of my Grandpa's house - it's not the original Bakelite Morrison Pluto Platter, but the plastic version, looks very similar. Mine says "WHAM-O" on the top, but the word "Frisbee" is not on it, from what I can tell mine was made in 1957.

  • I never had the pleasure of knowing Mr. Morrison, but I played various frisbee-disk games for a lotta years, and even played flying-disk golf at the pro level for a while. But I had a real job, so left the ultra-serious play to other, better players. I heard various stories about Fred over the years. All seemed to indicate that he was friendly, very straightforward man. I was told once that he had bought a hardware store in the early 1960s in Sierra Madre, CA. Folks asked him why he was going to his ha

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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