Frisbees were invented by a pie pan company, but not intentionally.
In the 1870s, William Frisbie opened a bake shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His pies came in metal pans with his last name stamped into them.
At some point, Yale students discovered that if the pans were thrown like a discus, they would fly and hover.
None of this was known to Walter Morrison in the early 1950s, when UFOs were in the news.
Young Morrison decided to try to create a flying UFO toy. He made a prototype in tin, then convinced the Wham-O company to sell his Morrison’s Flyin’ Saucer molded out of the new wonder material, plastic.
On a campus promotional tour, Wham-O representative Richard Knerr brought a crate of the new toys to New Haven, and was amazed to find that the students were already throwing pie-plate discs and shouting “Frisbie” as a warning.
The Yale kids liked the lighter, more aerodynamic design of the Flyin’ Saucers, and Knerr liked the name Frisbie.
In 1959, Wham-O changed its disc’s name to Frisbee, and they began to all but literally fly off toy and sporting goods shelves.