Fred Morrison, a pilot and carpenter most often credited with inventing that most ubiquitous of backyard toys, the Frisbee, died on Tuesday at his home in Monroe, Utah. He was 90 and had lung cancer.
Inspiration for Morrison’s flying-saucer toy came in 1937 at a Thanksgiving feast in 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 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 Morrison's entrepreneurial appetite.
“That got the wheels turning,” he told a Norfolk, Virginia, reporter in 2007. “There was a business.”
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