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Frisbee Fun

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Hey, Frisbee Fans!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a flying saucer! No, I’m not talking about any close encounters of the third kind sort of flying saucer. It’s the toy flying saucer that I’m talking about. You can use it to play a game of catch unlike any other—no ball involved—along with a number of other Frisbee-centric sports such as Ultimate Frisbee or Disc Golf.

The Frisbee glides by providing its own lift as it moves through the air and its spin is what creates its stability (using angular momentum in the same fashion as a gyroscope). This allows for aim and accuracy when it’s thrown.

Such a different concept from the typical ball that most sports use, how did such an interesting toy as the Frisbee come to be invented anyway? Well, it’s a cool story—one that starts in 1937 on a Thanksgiving Day evening.

After enjoying a delicious meal, one Walter Morrison and his one-day wife, Lucille, were having some fun, tossing around the lid of a popcorn canister. They discovered how well a flat disc could travel with the proper throw.

Another day, experimenting with the same concept, Walter and Lucille were tossing a cake pan back and forth on an afternoon at the beach. They were offered 25¢ for the pan despite the fact that cake pans, at the time, only cost a fifth of the offer that was made.

The couple saw that this idea could produce a profit and Walter sketched up a new design to make the disk more aerodynamic for improved flight. They named it the Whirlo-Way after a famous racehorse, however, in the midst of increasing UFO sightings after the incident at Roswell, New Mexico, they renamed their toy the Flyin-Saucer to capitalize on the craze.

From there, Walter started his own company in 1954 and redesigned the Flyin Saucer model, calling it the Pluto Platter. Before long, he sold the rights to Wham-O. That pretty much completes the history of the Frisbee—except for how it got its name.

Ironically, the name comes from students of Yale University who started tossing around empty pie tins from the Frisbie Pie Company—just the way Walter and Lucille threw around popcorn tin lids and cake pans! Once the co-founders of Wham-O learned of this term for throwing discs, they renamed the Pluto Platter for good. Catch your own light-up Frisbee right here at Everything Summer Camp and, as always, thanks for reading.


- John


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