The History of Ultimate Frisbee
From pie tins in the early 40’s to a few hundred thousand Ultimate players today, the sport of Ultimate Frisbee has come a long way. We have created this video below to honor Ultimate and all of its victories along the way. Ultimate is still a very young sport and it has a long way to go.
If you are involved in the Ultimate community, you are a part of something big. You are contributing to its history with every huck, bid, and cut. Just merely supporting or talking about the sport causes a tiny ripple effect that goes a long way.
Important Events in Ultimate’s History
<1940 – Frisbie Pie Company sold pies to neighboring Yale students. The students threw the pie tins to each other for fun because they actually flew pretty well.
1948 – Fred Morrison researched how to make a flat object fly straighter and further, and thus the first patent for a flying disc toy was born.
1951 – The first mass-produced disc toy, called the Pluto Platter, was sold.
1957 – Frisbie Pie’s closed down. Yale students nicknamed the infamous pie-tins Frisbies, which caught on enough for Whamo to change the name of the toy to “Frisbee.”
1968 – In Maplewood, New Jersey at Columbia High School Joel Silver and few other students first introduced a Frisbee-based game to the student council.
1969 – The first team had been formed. They practiced on the high schools parking lot.
1970 – Joel Silver, Buzzy Hellring, and Jon Hines created the 1st edition rules. The first interscholastic game took place between Columbia High and Millburn High. Columbia won 43 – 10
1972 – First intercollegiate game between Rutgers and Princeton, located at Rutgers University. Exactly 103 years earlier the two teams battled it out on the same site in the first American Football game. Rutgers won in both sports by a margin of two points.
1975 – First organized tournament took place. Eight teams attended at Yale University. Rutgers won yet again.
1979 – Ultimate Players Association (UPA) was founded, now called USA Ultimate.
1983 – The First World Ultimate Championship which was located in Gothenburg, Sweden.
1984 – The World Flying Disc Federation was founded, the international governing body for all disc sports.
1989 – Ultimate was shown as an exhibition sport during the world games in Akita, Japan.
2001 – Ultimate is officially a medal sport in the world games in Japan.
2012 – Over 100,000 players across the globe.
Present – Almost every college has some presence of Ultimate Frisbee, whether it be an official team, club, or people that just meet up to play. Local town leagues are popping up everywhere and many high schools are starting to add Ultimate into their athletic programs. Ultimate Related companies are on the rise attempting to earn market share in the rapidly expanding market. Who knows where Ultimate will be in another 80 years. Just respect the spirit of the game and never stop playing, the rest is history.
References for video
Michael E. Iacovella. An Abbreviated History of Ultimate. World Flying Disc Federation. wfdf.org/history-stats/history-of-ultimate/167-an-abbreviated-history-of-ultimate-compiled-by-michael-e-iacovella. Retrieved November 20th, 2014.
USA Ultimate. Hall of Fame: Founders. US Governing Body for Ultimate. usaultimate.org/about/history/hall_of_fame/founders_class_of_2005.aspx. Retrieved November 19th, 2014.
Frisbee Pluto Platter. Classic Toy Museum. burlingamepezmuseum.com/classictoy/plutoplatter.html. Retrieved November 25th, 2014.
Frisbee Museum. Marvin Flying Disc Collection. marvinsflyingdisccollection.com/wham-o-pluto-platter.html. Retrieved November 22nd, 2014