Frisbee was inspired by the Frisbie Pie Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, founded by William Russell Frisbie.
In the 1870s, William Russell Frisbie opened a bakery called the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His lightweight pie tins were embossed with the family name. In the mid-1940s, students at Yale University tossed the empty pie tins as a game.
In the 1950s, Walter Frederick Morrison, a Los Angeles building inspector determined to capitalize on Hollywoodıs obsession with UFOs, designed a lightweight plastic disk, based on the Frisbie bakeryıs pie tins, but changed the name to Flyinı Saucer to avoid legal hassles. Morrison sold the rights to the Wham-O Manufacturing Co. of San Gabriel, California, and on January 13, 1957, Americans were introduced to the Frisbee.
The Frisbie Pie Company went out of business in 1958. In 1994, Mattel acquired Wham-O.
In May 1989, Middlebury College in Vermont unveiled a bronze statue of a dog jumping to catch a Frisbee to commemorate the alleged fiftieth anniversary of the Frisbee. According to Middlebury legend, five undergraduates driving through Nebraska in 1939 suffered a flat tire. As two boys changed the tire, a third found a discarded pie tin from the Frisbie Pie Company near a cornfield and threw the circular disk in the air. Middlebury President Olin Robison told Time magazine, "Our version of the story is that it happened all over America, but it started here."
In the United States, more Frisbee discs are sold each year than baseballs, basketballs, and footballs combined.