The Readers Indigestion version of “The History of the Flying Disc”. By Bob Vidal
Legend has it that back before WWII, college kids used to take the empty pie tins from the cafeteria and play catch with them outside between classes. The name of that industrial bakery happened to be the “Frisbee Pie Company.
The first plastic flying discs were sold in 1948 by Fred Morrison who used a newly available material called polypropylene which enabled him to make a light, functional and safe toy product. They called his toy the “flying saucer” as a tribute to all the UFO sightings that were in the newspapers in those days. A few years later, Morrison came up with an improved design he called the Pluto Platter which is considered by many today to be the arch type of all modern “flying discs”. Morrison eventually sold the design and the rights to Whamo the toy manufacturer in 1957.
The real disc revolution in design came when Whamo hired visionary engineer Ed Headrick who made some key aerodynamic adjustment to the leading edge curvature of the disc and added resistance ridges which made the disc much more stable in fight and surprisingly more controllable.
With predictable accurate flight came a flood of sales and an explosion of interest in all sorts of disc activities. Skill levels reached unimaginable heights in a very short span of time. Eventually, different disciplines and cultural sub-groups emerged within the sport, from the original metal pie plate game of catch they called guts, to Ultimate (Frisbee), to Free Style, to DDC, MTA, Disc Golf , Can Jam and finally, half a century later, to the next logical link in the evolutionary chain of events, incorporating the best aspects of all the great action sports that came before it; enter Frockey – Flying Disc Hockey. The Ultimate Ice Sport.