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Wednesday, 14 August, 2002, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Frisbee inventor dies
Ed Hendrick with a frisbee and its prototype, a Mother Frisbies pie tin
Ed Hendrick: Frisbee's founding father
Ed Headrick, the inventor of the modern Frisbee, has died aged 78 at his home in La Selva Beach, California.

Headrick's passion for the flying discs extended far beyond the toy's manufacture - he even asked for his ashes to be moulded into commemorative Frisbees, his son Ken told a local newspaper.


We used to say that Frisbee is a religion - Frisbyterians we'd call ourselves

Ed Headrick
In an interview last year, Mr Headrick said of his fellow Frisbee fans: "When we die, we don't go to purgatory. We just land up on the roof and lay there."

The Frisbee - said to be named after the Frisbie Pie Company in Connecticut, whose round metal tins were used as toys by Yale University students in the 19th Century - is one of the most successful toys ever created.

Improved design

Mr Headrick patented toy maker Wham-O's first designs for the modern Frisbee in 1967, after improving the aerodynamics of the company's initial models.

The plastic Frisbee was actually invented in 1948 by Walter Morrison and Warren Franscioni.

A beagle
Frisbee fans come in all shapes and sizes
But Headrick's design, incorporating concentric grooved lines in the top of the discs, made them fly further and with greater accuracy.

His patent number is now stamped on to millions of Frisbees around the world.

Headrick went on to popularize a wide variety of Frisbee-related sports, and founded the Professional Disc Golf Association, which involves throwing a Frisbee at a metal cage.

Life-long love

In an interview last year, Headrick acknowledged his love of all things Frisbee.

"I felt the Frisbee had some kind of a spirit involved," he said. "It's not just like playing catch with a ball, it's the beautiful flight."

"We used to say that Frisbee is really a religion - Frisbyterians we'd call ourselves."

Headrick's relatives have said they will honour his wish for his ashes to be moulded into Frisbees and given to family members and others who make donations in his memory, his son Ken Headrick said.

Donations, unsurprisingly, are Frisbee-related. Headrick hoped to establish a museum dedicated to Frisbee and disc golf history.

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