Walter Frederick Morrison

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Walter Frederick Morrison
Walter Frederick Morrison.jpg
Morrison promoting his Pluto Platters, the forerunner of the Frisbee, in the 1950s
Born(1920-01-23)January 23, 1920
Richfield, Utah, U.S.
DiedFebruary 9, 2010(2010-02-09) (aged 90)
Monroe, Utah, U.S.
  • Inventor
  • entrepreneur

Walter Frederick Morrison (January 23, 1920 – February 9, 2010)[1] was an American inventor and entrepreneur, who invented the Frisbee.[2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Walter Fredrick "Fred" Morrison was born on January 23, 1920 in Richfield, Utah,[1] the son of Dr. Walter F. Morrison, an optometrist.[5]


Morrison stated that the original idea for a flying disc toy came to him in 1937, while throwing a popcorn can lid with his girlfriend, Lucile Eleanor "Lu" Nay (1920–1987), whom he later married on April 3, 1939 in Los Angeles, California. The popcorn can lid soon dented which led to the discovery that cake pans flew better and were more common. A year later, Morrison and Lu were offered 25 cents for a cake pan that they were tossing back and forth on a Santa Monica, California beach.[5] Morrison detailed, in a 2007 interview, "That got the wheels turning, because you could buy a cake pan for five cents, and if people on the beach were willing to pay a quarter for it, well—there was a business."[6] Morrison and Lu developed a little business selling "Flyin' Cake Pans" on the beaches of Los Angeles.

During World War II Morrison learned something of aerodynamics flying his P-47 Thunderbolt in Italy. He was shot down and was a prisoner of war for 48 days.[citation needed]

In 1946, Morrison sketched out a design (called the Whirlo-Way) for the world's first flying disc. In 1948 an investor, Warren Franscioni, paid for molding the design in plastic. They named it the Flyin-Saucer. After disappointing sales, Fred and Warren parted ways in early 1950. In 1954, Fred bought more of the Saucers from the original molders to sell at local fairs, but soon found he could produce his own disc more cheaply. In 1955, he and Lu designed the Pluto Platter, the archetype of all modern flying discs. On January 23, 1957, they sold the rights for the Pluto Platter to the Wham-O toy company. Initially Wham-O continued to market the toy solely as the "Pluto Platter", but by June 1957 they also began using the name Frisbee after learning that college students in the Northeast were calling the Pluto Platter by that name. Morrison also invented several other products for Wham-O, but none were as successful as the Pluto Platter.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Morrison and his wife, Lucile Nay Morrison, had a son and two daughters. After divorcing in March 1969 they remarried on April 3, 1971 then soon divorced again. Lucile died in 1987.[7] Morrison died at the age of 90 on February 9, 2010.[8] at his home in Monroe, Utah.[1]

Published works[edit]

Kennedy, Phil (2006). Flat Flip Flies Straight, True Origins of the Frisbee, Wormhole Publishers


  1. ^ a b c Arave, Lynn (February 10, 2010). "Frisbee creator Fred Morrison dies". Deseret News. Archived from the original on February 15, 2010. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  2. ^ Alden, Doug (February 11, 2010). "Frisbee inventor dies at 90". Washington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2010.[dead link]
  3. ^ Fox, Margalit (February 13, 2010). "Fred Morrison, Creator of a Popular Flying Plate, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  4. ^ McLellan, Dennis (February 13, 2010). "Walter Fredrick Morrison dies at 90; father of the Frisbee". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Kennedy, Phil (2014). "The History of the Frisbee" (PDF). Wormhole Publishers. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Swift, Earl (May 27, 2007). "50 years later, Frisbee still flying high". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  7. ^ Staff writers (February 12, 2010). "Fred Morrison". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  8. ^ Gilgoff, Dan (February 12, 2010). "Frisbee inventor dies at 90". CNN. Retrieved January 21, 2019.

External links[edit]