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Published:March 22nd, 2010 13:35 EST

Frisbees Came from Pie Tins

By SOP newswire2

Enjoyed your write up on the history of Frisbees.


On your comment: "I have heard it called a cake pan also, but I prefer pie plate as a more accurate description."

That deserves a reply. You preferences aside, Fred told me it was a cake pan. Now he knew as well as I, and most other folks, that a cake pan is a differently-shaped baking container than a pie tin. They are designed to do similar jobs with different ingredients. I don`t know why almost vertical sides work better for a cake than the sloping sides for a pie...but somebody long ago figured it out.

If you`re unclear on the difference, here`s a picture of the one from our book Flat Flip Flies Straight. This is a cake pan that Fred said was identical to the one he and Lu began using after their pop corn can lid was beat up beyond further use. It`s not that Fred had never flown a pie tin before...he said that was only but one of the many objects he had tried out as a youth. But, once tried, he said that that cake pans were superior fliers to pie tins: something about the steep rim makes them more stable in flight. Between about 1939 and 1948 when his first plastic flying disc emerged, his stated goal was to "make a better-flying cake pan."

There are many, many erroneous accounts avowing that Frisbees came from pie tins (usually attributed to those from the Frisbie Pie Co.). To understand you have to separate the THING from the NAME. The NAME "Frisbee" did indirectly come from Frisbie when Rich Knerr, president of Wham-O, "adopted" the name in 1957...months after Fred had signed his contract with Wham-O. (BTW, it wasn`t to avoid lawsuits...he simply had heard that students back East were calling Pluto Platters "frisbies/frizbies/frisbees" and didn`t know how to spell the odd name, so he settled on Frisbee to trademark. He had never heard of the Frisbie Pie Co.)

But the THING, the plastic flying disc, was inspired 20 years before by the commercial potential Fred sensed in "Flying Cake Pans."


Phil Kennedy