Man who invented Frisbee dies of cancer, aged 90

WALTER Fredrick Morrison, the man credited with inventing the Frisbee, has died. He was 90.

Mr Morrison died at his home in Monroe, Utah, on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison’s son, Walt, said that old age caught up with his father and that he also had cancer.

“He was a nice guy. He helped a lot of people,” Walt Morrison said. “He was an entrepreneur. He was always looking for something to do.”

Mr Morrison sold the production and manufacturing rights to his Pluto Platter in 1957. The plastic flying disc was later renamed the Frisbee, with sales surpassing 200 million discs. It is now a staple at beaches across the world and spawned sports like Frisbee golf and the team sport Ultimate.

An official disc golf course at Creekside Park in the Salt Lake City suburb of Holladay is named for Morrison.

Mr Morrison co-wrote a book with Frisbee enthusiast and historian Phil Kennedy in 2001. Kennedy released a brief biography about Mr Morrison, wishing his late friend “smoooooth flights”.

According to Kennedy, Mr Morrison and his future wife, Lu, used to toss a tin cake pan on the beach in California. The idea grew as Mr Morrison considered ways to make the cake pans fly better and after serving as a pilot in World War II, he began manufacturing his flying discs in 1948.

He would hawk the discs at local fairs and eventually attracted Wham-O Manufacturing, the company that bought the rights to Mr Morrison’s plastic discs.

Kennedy says Wham-O adopted the name Frisbee because that’s what college students in New England were calling the Pluto Platters. The name came from the Frisbie Pie Co, a local bakery whose empty tins were tossed like the soon-to-be Frisbee.

Walt Morrison said his father is survived by three children. The family is planning a service today at the Cowboy Corral in Elsinore.

Kay McIff, an attorney who represented Mr Morrison in a royalties case, said: “That simple little toy has permeated every continent in every country. How would you get through your youth without learning to throw a Frisbee?”

“The whole thing’s a wonderment!” Mr Morrison said in a 2007 TV interview. “I still shake my head. What have I done to deserve all this?

“This was not Einstein at work. I didn’t add anything to aeronautical sciences by putting a curve on a cake pan.”


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