Saturday, February 13, 2010

History is Our Stories ~ Fred Morrison and the Frisbee

Fred Morrison
Designer of the 'Pluto Platter' - 'Father of the Frisbee'


Fred Morrison had a rather remarkable life. He took the pass time of throwing pie and cake tins and developed a version in the 1950's that was plastic - the Pluto Platter. Wham-O purchased the Pluto Platter in 1955 and marketed it under the name Frisbee in 1957, launching a toy that is familiar around the globe.
"The world has changed a lot in the past 50 years, but the original purpose of Frisbee has remained constant," Morrison said on the 50th anniversary of his invention in 2007. "Just seeing the smile on a child's face as he or she catches a soaring disc on a summer afternoon in the park, or a grown-up diving headfirst to grab a falling disc, that is what the spirit of the Frisbee is all about."
Fred was a pilot in World War II. He was a fighter-bomber pilot. Shot down while flying a mission over Italy, he spent 48 days as a prisoner of war in the infamous German camp, Stalag 13.

When he first invented the Pluto Platter, he went on the fair circuit to demonstrate and sell the toy... without demonstration, no one knew what it was for. He would also dress up in 'space' attire to draw attention.

On the East Coast, a long standing game had been to flip pie platters made by the Frisbie pie company. Wham-O used the name, changed the spelling and the Pluto Platter became the Frisbee.

Thanks, Fred, for the hours of fun with the Frisbee! I remember a glow in the dark frisbee - we used to charge it in the headlights of the car and then throw it to one another in the park in the dark!

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