Early History of the Aerobie® Brand
During the 70’s and early 80’s while working as a consulting engineer and teaching part time at Stanford University, Alan Adler invented toys in his spare time and licensed his ideas to toy companies. Alan was also an avid sailor who taught himself aerodynamics in order to be able to design sailboats. His love of inventing toys and his newfound knowledge of aerodynamics led him into the pursuit of better flying toys.
Alan nurtured his interest in flying toys by studying ways to improve the conventional flying discs that were descendents of the old Frisbee pie tins. Eventually his analysis and experimental work led him to the discovery that flying rings rather than discs have an advantage when it comes to balancing aerodynamic lift over a wide range of speeds. Soon he began work on a series of flying toy inventions. He began with boomerangs, but the first of his flying toys to be marketed was the Skyro ring, which he licensed to Parker Brothers.
In January 1984 Alan designed and built the first prototype of the Aerobie ring. The first throw of the Aerobie ring on Roble Field at Stanford University showed Alan that he had a groundbreaking invention on his hands. The ring flew straight and true for an incredible distance, “as if sliding on an invisible sheet of ice.” Onlookers were astonished. Alan’s revolutionary spoiler rim design, which balanced aerodynamic lift over a wide range of throwing speeds, really was something special. In fact the ring was used by Erin Hemmings to set a Guinness World Record in 2003 for the farthest throw: an amazing 1,333 feet / 406 meters.
The Founding of Aerobie®, Inc.
Alan knew the Aerobie ring would be a hit. He also knew the flying performance of the Aerobie ring would be dependent on maintaining aerospace quality standards in the manufacturing process. He therefore founded Superflight, Inc. in 1984 so that he could maintain those standards and also control how his invention was sold. For its first 21 years of existence, the company was officially named Superflight, Inc. However, in 2005 Alan changed the company name to Aerobie, Inc. after recognizing that millions of people knew the company by its Aerobie brand.
Expanding the Product Line
Though the Aerobie flying ring served as the foundation of the brand and the company, Alan didn’t stop there. Over the years Aerobie has added numerous flying discs, balls (including finned footballs), a boomerang, and disc golf discs to our product lineup
. Finally, in 2005, Aerobie stepped boldly into housewares … with the AeroPress coffee maker
Aerobie®, Inc. Moves into Housewares
In 2003, inspired by his own experience with home coffee makers and a conversation about how difficult it was to make a single cup of good coffee, Alan began to experiment with ways to do just that. He spent months studying the coffee brewing process to determine which variables affect the taste of brewed coffee. Once he understood the ideal conditions for brewing a cup of coffee, Alan set about designing a manual coffee press that would brew coffee under those ideal conditions. Two years and over 30 prototypes later he finalized the design and introduced the AeroPress coffee maker at Coffee Fest Seattle in November 2005.
Initially some people were skeptical about the AeroPress. After all, it’s an odd looking coffee maker that’s manufactured by a sport toy company! But the initial skepticism quickly gave way to rave reviews as people learned to love the taste of AeroPress brewed coffee.
Now the AeroPress has become a favorite of serious coffee aficionados who love the control it gives them over the brewing process. It has even inspired its own grassroots network of regional, national, and world AeroPress Championships. In 2016 national champions from 50 countries competed at the 9th annual World AeroPress Championship that took place in Dublin.
Aerobie®, Inc. Today
Aerobie, Inc. has been a family business for over 30 years and will remain so for many more. We now manufacture 14 Aerobie brand products and sell them through thousands of retailers of all types throughout the United States and through distributors in over 60 countries. All Aerobie brand products are known for exceptional performance and quality.
We manufacture all but two of our products in California and do all of our product development, warehousing, packing, and shipping here.
We’re always thinking about new and exciting products, so keep an eye on this space! And, if you think of a sport toy or housewares product you’d love to have, email us
and ask for our invention submission information. Maybe your idea will become the next best selling Aerobie brand product and you will earn quarterly royalty checks!