A History Lesson With Booze ®

History Throw-back: How Frisbee Came to Be

in 1957, the Wham-O Toy Company launched what would become its most famous product, the Frisbee. You might say the invention was easy as pie.

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Photo: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

Fred Morrison launched a career with a flick of his wrist. It was 1937 and the teenaged Morrison was at a backyard party with his girlfriend Lucille. At some point, he grabbed the top off a popcorn tin and tossed it to her. To their delight, it sailed smoothly through the air. After some experimenting, they learned cake pans were more aerodynamic, and they were tossing one of those around at the beach one day when some dude wandered up and offered to buy it for a quarter. The pan had cost Fred five cents. Eureka! A business was born.

Fred and Lucille started selling modified cake pans to Santa Monica beach-goers. Later, Fred teamed up with a business partner to make better flying discs, made of plastic. With UFO sightings suddenly all the rage, Fred named his product the Flying Saucer.

In 1957, though, the Wham-O Toy Company bought the rights to Fred’s invention and changed its name after they heard about college kids in Bridgeport, Connecticut, who had nicknamed the pie-shaped saucer after a local pie company, Frisbie. Fred later said he found the saucer’s new name “a horror.” But the millions of dollars in royalties he earned probably helped ease the pain.

Meanwhile, Wham-O executive Ed Hedrick modified the Frisbee, and invented a sport to play with it, disc golf. After he died, his ashes were molded into Frisbees.

Kossuth Flier

Kossuth Flier cocktail
Photo: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

Tossed together by Alan Heedy, bartender at Tautog Tavern in Bridgeport, CT, home of the Frisbie Pie Company, from which Frisbees derived their name.

Ingredients:

  • Crumbled pie crust
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt
  • 1.5 ounces Cherry vodka
  • 1.5 ounces Vanilla vodka
  • .5 ounce Cherry juice
  • 2 Cherries

Instructions:

Mix together ground crust, brown sugar, and salt. Moisten the rim of a cocktail glass and roll in the mixture to rim. Combine both flavored vodkas in a shaker tin with ice and strain into glass. Pour cherry juice carefully to create a layer at the bottom of the glass. Garnish with cherries.

[Ed note: this article initially incorrectly referenced the Frisbie Pie Company as the Frisbee Pie Company. We have corrected this error.]

  • http://bit.ly/sludgeSLOG Sludge Ultimate

    CORRECTION: The pie company was named “Frisbie,” not Frisbee. http://sludgeonline.blogspot.com/2011/04/family-tfrisbee.html

    • http://www.dinnerpartydownload.org Kristina Lopez

      Thanks for spotting that mistake. We’ve updated the article with the correct spelling.

  • Terry Calhoun

    RIP “Steady” Ed, what a thing you started! Within two years there will be as many rounds of “disc” golf played each year in the US as there are rounds of “ball” golf.

  • Catherine Parker

    Not only disc golf, the game of ultimate Frisbee is very popular.