Flying disc

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Flying discs[1] are disc-shaped gliders which are generally plastic and roughly 20 to 25 centimeters (8–10 inches) in diameter, with a lip. The shape of the disc, an airfoil in cross-section, allows it to fly by generating lift as it moves through the air while rotating.

The term Frisbee, often used uncapitalized generically to describe all flying discs, is a registered trademark of the Wham-O toy company. Such use is not encouraged by the company, whose concern is that the use of the name in generic fashion may put the trademark in jeopardy.[citation needed]

Flying discs are thrown and caught for free-form recreation and as part of many different flying disc games. A wide range of flying disc variants are available commercially. Disc golf discs are usually smaller but denser and are tailored for particular flight profiles to increase/decrease stability and distance. Disc dog sports use relatively slow flying discs made of more pliable material to better resist a dog's bite and prevent injury to the dog. Flying rings are also available which typically fly significantly farther than any traditional flying disc. There are illuminated discs meant for night time play that use phosphorescent plastic, or battery powered light emitting diodes. There are also discs that whistle when they reach a certain velocity in flight.

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History

The clay target used in trapshooting, almost identical to a flying disc in shape, was designed in the 19th century.

Walter Frederick Morrison discovered a market for the modern day flying disc[2] in 1938 when he and his future wife Lucile were offered 25¢ for a cake pan that they were tossing back and forth to each other on the beach in Santa Monica, California. "That got the wheels turning, because you could buy a cake pan for 5 cents, and if people on the beach were willing to pay a quarter for it, well, there was a business", Morrison told the Virginian-Pilot in 2007.[cite this quote] They continued their business until World War II when he served in the army Air Forces flying P-47s and spent time as a prisoner of war. Upon his return from the war, Morrison sketched a design for an aerodynamically-improved flying disc he dubbed the Whirlo-Way. By 1948 after design modifications and experimentation with several prototypes, Morrison and his business partner Warren Franscioni began producing the first plastic discs. They re-named their invention Flyin-Saucer in the wake of reported UFO sightings. "We worked fairs, demonstrating it", Morrison told the Virginian-Pilot. "That's where we learned we could sell these things, because people ate them up." Morrison and Franscioni ended their partnership in 1950. After further design refinements in 1955, Morrison began producing a new disc, which he called the Pluto Platter. He sold the rights to Wham-O in 1957, the company named the disc the Frisbee and the following year, Morrison was awarded US Design Patent 183,626 for his flying disc. "I thought the name was a horror. Terrible", he told the Press-Enterprise of Riverside[cite this quote] in 2007. In 1982 Morrison told Forbes magazine[cite this quote] he had received about $2 million in royalty payments and said "I wouldn't change the name of it for the world".[3]

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