Sunday, July 29, 2012

Frisbie Pies and the Tangential History of Frisbee Flying Objects

I was watching a NatGeo (National Geographic) episode on cable television a few days ago.  This particular NatGeo episode reviewed the process of documentation of UFO's.  I am not particularly interested in the subject matter of UFO's since I prefer to concentrate on what goes on around me in the earthly plane instead of outer space.

In any event, the television show interviewed an astronomer and director of MUFON in Terryville, CT.  MUFON has an internet database where anyone can report a UFO sighting and MUFON staff will investigate the sighting and document the event. 

The NatGeo episode covered a variety of UFO topics most of which are old news to the average television viewer.  One note of the show did peak my curiosity-the comment that the "Frisbee" flying disc toy was invented the "year after" the Roswell, NM flying saucer incident which occurred in June or July of 1947.  Thus, the television show note implied that the plastic Frisbee toy was invented in 1948.   The following is a mock-up photo of the 1947 Roswell, NM incident:

Bridgeport, CT, like most other cities and towns, prides itself on inventions and unique events that are part of the city's history.  As a person who grew-up in Bridgeport, CT,  I am aware that Bridgeport has occassionally claimed the invention of the Frisbee, i. e., the plastic disc toy that one can throw and use to perform entertaining tricks with friends or their pet dogs.  I also am aware that there was a famous Bridgeport, CT Frisbie Pies company that sold pies in thin metal tins in the late 1800's to the early 1900's.   Anecdotal history also claims that Yale University students (New Haven, CT) used these thin metal pie tins to toss around and play games with their friends.   

Hence, I refer in the Blog Post Title to the "Frisbie Pies and the Tangential History of Frisbee Flying Objects".  Kindly see the following link for one summary of the history of the invention of the plastic flying disc Frisbee:

According to this summary the plastic disc toy, Frisbee, was to patented and sold in the mid 1950's by the Wham-O Company of California.  The actual inventors of the toy in the 1950's were listed as being from California.  Therefore, the comment that the Frisbee toy, as stated in the NatGeo television show, was invented the year after the Roswell, NM flying saucer incident is not quite accurate.  The plastic disc toy was not manufactured and sold until the mid 1950's.  Below is a drawing by a Mr. Header of one Frisbee toy patent:

Also, Bridgeport, CT can rightfully claim the old Frisbie Pie Company, but cannot honor itself as inventors of the plastic toy Frisbee.

Anyone who has evidence to the contrary, i. e., that the plastic Frisbee toy was invented in Bridgeport, feel free to comment.  As a scientist, I suspect that the modern plastic Frisbee toy was probably invented by a few different people, but was only patented and sold to Wham-O by 1 or 2 people in the 1950's.

Lastly, in the 1960's there were radio news reports from a local Bridgeport, CT station that UFO's were hovering over City Hall for more than one night.  Supposedly, hundreds of people went to the City Hall area on those nights to witness the "UFO's".  I was too young to go to the City Hall to look at the alleged "UFO's" hovering over City Hall, however, to date, I have not been able to find newspaper reports of the incident.  When I recently checked the MUFON database there were no similar reports documented from that same time period and the location.  I cannot imagine why a UFO would bother to hover over the City of Bridgeport's City Hall annex.

Since the Summer Olympics just began this weekend, I share the following illustration from antiquity that the concept of flying discs is not something that is truly a 19th or 20th century invention: 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Barnum Museum - Building Frieze

The old Barnum Museum is located in downtown Bridgeport at 820 Main Street.  There is a frieze - sculpture - above the entrance and windows.  There is also a second frieze above the roof around the rotunda.  The frieze(s) were installed between 1891 and 1893.  The sculpture artist is documented as "UNKNOWN" in the description of the Smithsonian Museum

 (Barnum Museum frieze) .   

Today's blog issue:  Any readers know who sculpted the frieze(s) on the Barnum Museum?  Feel free to comment if you can find out who sculpted the frieze(s).

Some added trivia, the original Barnum Museum was in New York City prior to the building of the museum in Bridgeport, CT. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pequonnock Nursery-Plant Nursery (Map 1867-Bridgeport, CT)

Pequonnock Nursery-1867

Just under Berkshire Mill Pond
which is near River Street in today's Bridgeport;

Friday, July 6, 2012

Brooklawn Country Club

Brooklawn Country Club (circa 1921)

Architecture, Art and Sculpture in or from Bridgeport (cont'd)

Another artist born in Bridgeport (birthdate 1950)
who is included in the Smithsonian Art Archives:

Jane Hammond

Painting entitled: My Heavens (Smithsonian Art Archives)

Architecture, Art and Sculpture in Bridgeport (cont'd)

The Bridgeport Arts Festival takes place on Saturday, July 7, 2012 at McLevy Green!

There are a few 19th and 20th Century artists who were born in Bridgeport, CT and left.  One of them is Ed Garman (1914-2004/California):

Painting entitled: No. 260 (Smithsonian Art Archives)

Additional information about Garman and his painting can be found in the following links:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Architecture, Art and Sculpture in Bridgeport

My own photos (2010) of the 21 panel concrete cast sculpture by Constantine Nivola on the exterior of the Connecticut Post Building, 410 State Street, Bridgeport, CT.  The following link from the Smithsonian Institute describes the panel content created by the artist for the newspaper buiding:!297143~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=Browse&menu=search&ri=3&source=~!siartinventories&term=Connecticut+Post,+Bridgeport,+Connecticut&index=#focus

The sculpture is actually located on the east side of the building and not the west side as written in the Smithsonian description.  The corner of Lafayette Boulevard and State Street is the best view.  The piece has been there since 1966 and is often unnoticed or passed by in this downtown area.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

While drivng around the East Bridgport, CT area along the Pequonnock River 3 years ago surveying trees and bird habitat, I noticed this residential building on one of the side streets (see below)  My habit is to take impromtu photos with my cell telephone, so I stopped my truck to get this one since I could not believe my eyes: a slab of stone with my last name.  I am not superstitious, yet I thought there is only one other place that I may ever see my last name carved in stone.  I got out and took this photo.  In any event, my surmise was that this may have once been an exclusive apartment building. 

To digress, I have no particular fascination for cemeteries, although my former significant-other had a thing for scrutinizing old cemeteries on vacations to New Hampshire or weekend wanderings around Pound Ridge, NY.  "I'll wait in the car", I would say.  She had a friend who once insisted that I go to see the old Monks cemetery at the GTE Management Training Center in West Norwalk, CT.  I could not comprehend why? This location ultimately became the Dolce Vida which is a professional meeting and banquet facility. 

Could not ever figure the her out that way.  It was either take me out to breakfast at the Sherwood Diner (Westport, CT) every Sunday morning, or else.  My preference was to be out for a Sunday morning training run through the trails of the Lucius Ordway Nature Conservancy or around Silvermine, CT's serene roads-"hitting the hills" for a 10-15 miler.  Pulling out my racing bike and riding up through East Norwalk and Weston, CT was another option.  All joking aside, my former significant-other missed the Silvermine Cemetery which is a true cemetery buff's delight.  I used to run by the cemetery 5 times a week, but never stopped to go through the gate to look at tombstones of famous local personages.

While I was revisiting Bridgeport, CT's historical East Bridgeport section for scientific reasons, my research trajected into the local 1600's, 1700's, and 1800's history of this place. Based on records, there were no persons with the same last name "George" in the archives of city maps.  One of these days, when I have time and can face the Bridgeport brass, I am going to mosey down to the Town Clerk's Office to find out whose name is on this late 19th- early 20th Century building.