The Flying Disc, more popularly known as the Frisbee, traces its origins from the most unlikeliest of items: a popcorn can lid. In 1937, Walter Fredrick Morrison and his girlfriend (and future wife) Lucile were having fun on a beach in Santa Monica, California, tossing a popcorn lid back-and-forth to each other. When someone offered them 25 cents for the lid, Morrison realized the commercial possibilities in the seemingly simple object.-
Morrison would continue to upgrade his new discovery. Realizing that popcorn lids dented easily, he found that cake pans were not only sturdier, but they flew better and were much more common. He would then market his product as “Flyin’ Cake Pans,” selling them along the Santa Monica beaches.
When World War II broke out, Morrison served as a pilot in the Air Force, learning a bit about aerodynamics in the process. In 1946, he would make good use of this knowledge by designing the first proper flying disc, which he named the Whirlo-Way. In 1948, he went into business with investor Warren Franscioni, modified his design and renamed the now-plastic disc as the Flyin’ Saucer.
By 1955, Morrison had further modified his disc and again renamed it as the Pluto Platter. He eventually sold the rights to his invention to the Wham-O toy company. It was later discovered that college students in the East Coast were referring to the disc as “Frisbee,” after the Frisbie Pie Company in New England. This led Wham-O to copyright the term as the brand name for their toy. While frisbee has since become a general name for flying discs, Wham-O discourages using the name in a generic manner in order to protect their trademark.
As to what is the size of a flying disc, it usually measures a diameter of roughly 7.9 to 9.8 inches (20 to 25 centimeters). However, there are some flying disc games that utilize discs of differing sizes.
Formerly known as Ultimate Frisbee (its name shortened for the aforementioned copyright reasons), Ultimate is a non-contact team sport that employs a flying disc. The game is somewhat similar to American football or rugby in that points are scored by passing the disc in the opposing endzone. The flying disc that is used in Ultimate weighs 175 grams.
Disc Golf is a flying disc game whose rules are based on that of the sport of golf (which disc golfers usually refer to as ball golf or stick golf). The game is played by traversing a course and throwing the discs at a target that serves as the “hole.” The golf discs that are used in the game are smaller and heavier than the typical flying disc, measuring a diameter of around 8 to 9 inches and weighing 150 to 180 grams. The PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) does not allow discs that are heavier than 200 grams.