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Mitch Albom's most recent article mentioned a name that I instantly recognized - Richard Knerr? As the article stated, it was he and Arthur "Spud' Melin who made their fortune inventing and mass producing outdoor summer games and toys under the banner Wham-O. My real only interest as I delved into the reading was what he would say about the Frisbee. I was eager to see if Mr. Albom would mistakenly claim that these two business men "invented' the plastic flying disc called the Frisbee.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

Mitch Albom’s most recent article mentioned a name that I instantly recognized — Richard Knerr?

As the article stated, it was he and Arthur “Spud” Melin who made their fortune inventing and mass producing outdoor summer games and toys under the banner Wham-O. My real only interest as I delved into the reading was what he would say about the Frisbee. I was eager to see if Mr. Albom would mistakenly claim that these two business men “invented” the plastic flying disc called the Frisbee.

Instead he said that Wham-O “introduced” the Frisbee in 1957. For the record, the plastic flying disc was invented by another Californian by the name of Fred Morrison. Morrison first called his invention the Flyin-Saucer (1948). He would retool the saucer, (the term saucer or flying saucer was a generic term just like we use the term Frisbee today), and renamed it the Pluto Platter (1955). It was this toy that Morrison marketed at fairs and which caught the interests of Knerr and Melin.

They proposed to Morrison that Wham-O could mass produce this toy and Morrison would obtain royalties. The patent for the Pluto Platter, the first for a toy of its kind, became official four days after I was born, on Sept. 30 1958. By then, Wham-O began marketing this Morrison invention as the Pluto Platter Frisbee. In 1964, a new CEO at Wham-O by the name of Ed Headrick took over the design process for the Platter.

He took this novelty toy, got rid of the “spacecraft” association, and made it more of a sporting good. Along with a new design Headrick dropped the Pluto Platter name. Headrick’s marketing skills brought the name Frisbee to the forefront of America’s consciousness, and he became obsessed with the Frisbee and the games that one could create with it. It was he who invented the disc golf Pole-Hole, the target catching device for the game of disc golf, which he is also credited with formalizing in the mid 1970s.

Coincidentally, Jan. 23 marked Morrison’s birthday and also the day in 1957 when he signed over control of his invention to two “slingshotting” entrepreneurs. Go throw a Frisbee and be happy! Read more about the origins of the flying disc in Morrison’s book, “Flat Flip Flies Straight.”

Patrick Brown  

Norwalk

Comments

Big Brother (An...

It is amazing how much enjoyment a little piece of plastic can bring.

Charlie (Anonymous)

What a wonderful article about the history of the greatest selling sporting article of all time, the Frisbee! This Brown sure has a wealth of information that most anyone would not know. I talked to a Razor Ray fella in Olena about Frisbees once. I'm tellin', he didn't know jack compared to this guy. It's good to know they only print articles from those who can disc-riminate the facts. Good job Brown!

Chuck (Anonymous)

I think this Brown fella has a fan club. Hmmmm.

Tom (Anonymous)

Makes you wonder what he spends his time doing.

Walker (Anonymous)

I know this Brown guy. He's the one that put together the frizbee golf deal out at the res. YOu see him out there all the time throwing them. Those frizbees are a menace to those of us trying to walk our dogs.

Charlie (Anonymous)

I was just informed by my significnt other that there's some sort of Frisbee golf course in Norwalk at the reservoir. She said it's those metal things with chains that are all over the darn place. Hell, I thought those was deer feeders!

Thankful (Anonymous)

That disc golf course is an asset to our community. I know that there are people that come from all over the play. It's free, well mentained, good exercise, and a wonderful way to spend time with friends.

Melo (Anonymous)

I know a guy by the name of Schick who killt a goose out there with one of them frizbees..damn it, how do you spell frisbie??!!

Goose-poo (Anon...

Those are deer feeders...deer just haven't figured it out yet.

Reporter (Anonymous)

I know a high shcool teacher who got her nose broke when she was hit by a Frisbee at a homecoming parade in Gahanna. True story. I think the kid that threw it is related to this Brown dude.

No Way (Anonymous)

You got to be kiddin' me

Big Brother (An...

This is way too many comments on Frizbees. It's not like you opening a specialty camp ground in Fitchville of something.

Can't See (Anon...

I've never seen any deer feeders out there.

Charlie (Anonymous)

A Frisbee goes where the wind blows it. So it is within the "blogosphere". Did any of people even read the article? It's enlightening and entertaining! Chuck, Tom, how 'bout you Goose-poo...if that is your real name?

Tom (Anonymous)

You all have too much time on your hands.

Melo (Anonymous)

Is is against the law to kill a goose with a frizbea?

Goose-poo (Anon...

call me what you want...goose-poo...poose-goo...it's all good.

Chuck (Anonymous)

I wish this Brown fella would have explained what a flap flip is?

Razor Ray (Anon...

You all are a bunch of Mobates.

Mobate (Anonymous)

Did someone call?

Chuck (Anonymous)

It's a Fitchville number.

mort (Anonymous)

Frisbee golf is gay.

HAHA (Anonymous)

These comments are hilarious!

Mobate (Anonymous)

"Mort" is actually a French term for...you guessed it...gay.

Charlie (Anonymous)

Thanks HAHA, if that's your real name...I know who you are...you had an eye patch when you were little, didn' you. And hey Mort, UR GAY! Now you can camp just south of Fitchville.

Dave Rimmer, Li...

Sorry guys you got it all wrong.....we Brits invented the frisbie hundreds of years ago but in them days they called it a dinner plate. How can you say the Frisbie was invented....its only a bloody plastic plate. They actually save the Greek nation a fortune coz when they throw them on the floor they dont break

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Have a nice day, TTFN

Charlie (Anonymous)

what was the name of the Brit who invented it?

Dave Rimmer, Li...

Sorry Charlie cant answer that one but what a fantastic invention, the dinner plate,so many uses, You can eat and store food on them, you can sling them in the park and make em fly, you can smash them on the floor like the Greek tradition or even her indoors can smash you over the head with them if she`s not to happy with you,you can even paint prety pictures on them and hang them on the wall.....ah yes a true British invention...

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Beware of flying plates,especially when her indoors is in a bad mood TTFN

Charlie (Anonymous)

Are you for real man, I mean Liverpool UK and all? And if so, how in the world did you hook onto the Norwalk Reflector web blog? By the way, I figured out that Brit that may have invented the Frisbee--Jethro Tull and his sidekick Aqualung. TTFN

Dave Rimmer, Li...

Charlie....yes I am for real and I have explained a number of times on the Reflector site how I came to contribute. Simply, a very good American friend of mine lives in Norwalk and I like to expand my knowledge beyond the shores of the UK but at the same time mix a sense of humour with a serious side when the subject needs serious debate. Sorry but I find the subject of frisbees is one that can be used for the sense of humour.

I really havent a clue who invented the frisbee and dont particularly care but did see an opportunity to, as we say in the UK, Take the piss, take the Mickey or make fun of as indeed a number of you fellow Americans had already started on this post

Regards...................TTFN

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