Fred Morrison, inventor of the Frisbee, dies at 90

Emma Brown in the Washington Post:

ScreenHunter_07 Feb. 14 08.15 Fred Morrison, 90, a pilot and carpenter most often credited with inventing that most ubiquitous of backyard toys, the Frisbee, died Feb. 9 at his home in Monroe, Utah. He had lung cancer.

People have been tossing flat, round objects for millennia, and the origins of the Frisbee have been shrouded in conflicting claims and legend. But it was Mr. Morrison who created the flying disc that was eventually marketed to the world, giving rise to a beloved form of egalitarian picnic entertainment and spin-off sports including Ultimate Frisbee, canine Frisbee, freestyle Frisbee and professional disc golf, a sport that's grown large enough that its champions can now make a living on prize money and sponsorships.

Inspiration for Mr. Morrison's flying-saucer toy came in 1937 at a Thanksgiving feast in Southern California. He and his girlfriend, Lucile “Lu” Nay, entertained themselves by tossing a popcorn-tin lid in the backyard. The lid eventually became dented, ruining its aerodynamic potential, and the resourceful couple snatched a cake pan from Mr. Morrison's mother's kitchen.

Cake pans, it turned out, were sturdier and flew better — so much so that one day, when the two were flinging a pan back and forth on the beach, an impressed passerby offered to buy it. The pan had originally cost a nickel, the stranger offered a quarter — and that exchange was enough to whet Mr. Morrison's entrepreneurial appetite.

More here.