Monday, December 27, 2010

WHAM-O Does It Again!

There are few identifiable toys that have transcended beyond the passage of time, and are able to retain notoriety despite all the other competitive products to contend with today. The Frisbee is one such product that is both incredibly simple, and a great deal of fun to play.

The Frisbee has origins with William Russel Frisbie who founded the "Frisbie Pie Company" in 1895 at Bridgeport Connecticut. The pie tins were imprinted with the name, Frisbie.

Round about 1948 an innovator and building inspector, Fred Morrison, created a refined plastic version of the frisbie when he viewed hungry college students throwing and tossing the Frisbie Pie Company empty pie tins and enjoying endless hours of game and sport. Interesting side note: Vintage Allies (VAV!) has secured an insiders' illuminating scoop that inventions were prolific in the Morrison family. Morrison's father, also an inventor, invented the automotive sealed-beam headlight.

The first concept of Fred Morrison's flying disc, which he named the "Whirlo-Way, was a tribute to the 1941 Triple Crown winning race horse, Whirlway.

The Frisbee was an "aerodynamic toy to be thrown through the air ... in throwing games." Described as a saucer shaped throwing implement with a series of concentric discontinuities adjacent the rim on its convex side. These molded rings were designed to provide "an interfering effect on the airflow over the implement and create a turbulent unseparated boundary layer over the top of the implement reducing aerodynamic drag." Translation: Vintage fun.

Morrison then sold his product to WHAM-O® in 1955 where it was introduced to the consumer market in 1957 as the Pluto Platter™ (the name inspired by the country's obsession with Unidentified Flying Objects). The Pluto Platter was modified in 1958 and renamed the FRISBEE® disc. In 1964, the first professional model went on sale. Wham-O sold over one hundred million units before the selling the toy to Mattel in the 1990s

A milestone in Frisbee history was made December 26, 1967, when a group of high school students in Maplewood, New Jersey, invented the 'Ultimate Frisbee', a new sport blending football, soccer and basketball .

The U.S. Navy spent almost $400,000 in 1968 to study Frisbees in wind tunnels, tracking their flights with computers and cameras, and building a special Frisbee-launching machine on top of a Utah cliff to test a prototype flare launcher.

Through the decades, the Frisbee has become an American icon.

Note: Whatever happened to the grand and original Frisbie Pie Company? They closed their doors in 1958. Stall Count!

Hubba, Hubba

Courtesy of
Vintage Allies (VAV!)

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