Sunday, June 27th, 2004


Believe it or not, but the city of Bridgeport is actually responsible for the first frisbie. It all started in 1871 when William Russell Frisbie moved to Bridgeport from Branford, where his father, Russell, had operated a successful grist mill to manage the local branch of the Olds Baking Co. He eventually bought the bakery on 363 Kossuth Street and renamed it Frisbie Pie Co. W.R. died in 1903 and his son, Joseph P., manned the ovens until his death in 1940. Under his direction the small company grew from six to two hundred and fifty routes, and shops were opened in Hartford, Connecticut; Poughkeepsie, New York; and Providence, Rhode Island. His widow, Marian Rose Frisbie, and long-time plant manager, Joseph J. Vaughn, baked on until August 1958 and reached a zenith production of 80,000 pies per day in 1956.

Frisbee historian Malafronte believes truck drivers for the company were the first to toss Frisbie Pie tins on the loading docks during idle times. The tins bore the words "Frisbie's Pies" and had six small holes in the center, in a star pattern, that hummed when the tin flew.

The sport moved to Eastern colleges (probably first at Yale), where students shouted "Frisbie!" to warn people of incoming pie tins. A sport developed and took on the name "Frisbie-ing."

Walter “Fred” Morrison and Warren Franscioni seized the marketing possibility of a plastic flying disk in the mid 1940s. They called their first version The Flyin’ Saucer and used the hot cartoon property of the day (Lil’ Abner) to try and help sell it. It failed and the two entrepreneurs parted ways. Fred Morrison then launched his own updated version in 1955, renaming it the Pluto Platter Flying Saucer. It was this version of the disk that caught the eye of Spud Melin and Dick Knerr at Wham-O, and the rest, as they say, is Frisbee history. Wham-O changed the spelling from Frisbie to Frisbee and on January 13, 1957, Americans were introduced to the Frisbee. and went on to make it one of the most popular toys of all time, selling over 200 million of them since 1957.
The Frisbie Pie Company went out of business in 1958. In 1994, Mattel acquired Wham-O.