- The Frisbee, one might imagine, is a child's toy. But adults also enjoy flipping to one another these plastic, saucer-shaped disks that skim through the air. In fact adults began sailing slim plates as an outdoor sport. Because they were not boomerangs, they therefore needed someone to catch the initial flip and sail it back. One historian maintained that the game began on the Yale campus in 1827 when an undergraduate showed his displeasure at being compelled to attend chapel services by hurling the collection plate through an open door. The flipping of plates caught on (collection plates?), and a new pastime was born.A story that has better credentials cites the drivers of the Frisbie Pie Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who, during their lunch breaks, amused themselves by throwing around tin pie plates. With time, this fun activity took hold at Yale University, and then spread to other campuses around the country. The students found it sport to sail these tins, reminiscent of flying saucers, toward one another and then have them hurled back. One way or another, Yale gets the credit for launching the Frisbee toss. The name of the pie company was later emblazoned onto the saucer, which then became known as Frisbee, and the saucers' material changed to plastic. Just about 1950 a certain Fred Morrison introduced on the West Coast a product he called the original "Flyin' Saucer" and hawked his product for seven years. At that time two ingenious entrepreneurs began the manufacture of plastic circular plates and kept the name "Frisbee" to honor the Frisbie Pie Company. By using assembly lines, they were able to produce large quantities of this throwing disk and, in fact, sold more than 100 million of them.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.