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Frisbee Inventor Dies
His product gave joy to millions

Fred Morrison died earlier this week at the age of 90. Best known as the inventor of the Frisbee, he was also a World War II pilot, husband and father, and an entrepreneur. The first discs he threw were the lids of popcorn tins, which he and his wife threw back and forth at a family picnic in 1937. These dented too easily so he moved to cake tins, and then began to manufacture his own discs, which he sold for a quarter at the beach in southern California. People loved them, and they sold well, attracting enough interest for Wham-O to buy the rights to his flying discs. In 2007, the Frisbee in its current form turned 50.

 
Morrison called them Pluto Platters in recognition of the UFO craze sweeping the nation decades ago. The name Frisbee comes from the Frisbee Pie Company, whose platters were thrown like Frisbees before any were manufactured out of plastic. The name Pluto Platters is quite suitable considering the canine character named Pluto. Dogs and Frisbees hit the spotlight together in the 1970s, starting with a man and his whippet who jumped on the field during a televised baseball game at Dodger Stadium and wowed the crowd with a display 35 mph throws and nine-foot high jumps to catch the Frisbee.
 
For anyone who has a Frisbee-loving canine in the family, it’s hard to imagine life without them. (It can actually be hard to imagine an outing without them. I occasionally hear someone in agony at the dog park exclaiming, “Oh, no! There’s no Frisbee in my bag!” Invariably, a crestfallen dog is nearby wondering why the fun has not started yet.) Many dogs exhibit a level of athleticism and defiance of gravity when playing with a Frisbee that is beautiful to watch. Their level of joy soars as high as they leap.
 
If your dog considers a day without a game of Frisbee to be a day wasted, I want to hear from you. How does your dog amaze you, and when did you first discover that your dog was a Frisbee dog?
 
And thanks, Fred. Your invention has given endless joy to so many.

 

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

Photo from WHAM-O.

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Submitted by FJM | February 12 2010 |

Many years ago, I had a friend and her 8 year old daughter staying with me when the news of Roald Dahl's death came up on the television. With a stunned look the child turned to us and asked "But who will write stories for us now?" Here is a man who's invention has also given huge pleasure to countless humans - and to their dogs. If there is a rainbow bridge, he will be met by more joyous dogs than anyone could begin to count.

Submitted by cowdog | February 13 2010 |

My dog is a lover of tennis balls..almost to excess/obsessive level. I incorporated frisbee, particuarly with a "chewber" disk because it has another function as a tug toy (which she loves). She didn't love it at first but I made it exciting by putting a few bits of kibble in it and running away from her with it. It's now one of her fave toys...although in the winter I always throw it in the tub to dry off the snow...and forget to take it out.I have woken up numerous mornings and stepped directly on it haha.

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