Vern Estes web site

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Looks very cool!!

I remember way way back in about 1969, I was 11 years old and wrote in to Estes with some question about some kit I was trying to build. Even at 11 years old, I figured I'd get some form letter back, and I got a short personal note from Vern Estes telling me how to fix the problem!!! :eek:
Needless to say that was quite an event for me. I don't even know what ever happened to the note. It's probably in one of my boxes of stuff in the attic ... some day my grandkids will sort through my stuff and find it. :D

Good to see Mr. Estes is still active and involved in the hobby. Hope to see him at NARAM next year!
Mr. Estes should introduce his webmaster/designer to the Estes/Cox people. :D Ok, it had to be said. LOL!
note: the site doesn't work on mozilla (correctly)

man, they should just get somone that knows php or just blatent html and use that
This is just WONDERFUL!

I'm really looking forward to this.
This could be cool. Hope it becomes more than a sales pitch for the book. Think of all the stories, photos, etc that he could share. I'll definitely keep an eye on this site!
I remember writing a letter in either 1968 or 69. Funny thing was, I wrote a letter asking for a job...ANY job. I was about 10 looking to pack up and leave home. I even think I lied about my age but I'm sure my spelling probably gave my real age away. I think it was in one of the catalogs that they had an aerial photo of the factory in Penrose. I used to wonder what it might be like to work inside that big rocketry haven.... Mr. Estes a TRF memeber???????
I hope nobody minds but I sent an email to Vern and invited him to join our forum...wouldn't THAT be cool!

And if he wants to advertise his book in the "Yard Sale" forum well, he can just go right ahead...I want to pre-order one anyway...signed of course!:D
how did Vern get the idea for model rocketry, anyway?
how did Vern get the idea for model rocketry, anyway?

Vern was a contractor and G.H. Stine (Bill's dad) asked him if he could design and build a machine (later named Mable) that could make Mr. Stines Roc-a-Chute motors.

Mr. Stines company didn't make it...don't know why

....but Vern had this engine making machine...sooooo....the rest is history.:D
actually Mr.Stines rock-a-chute motors were orginaly hand packed by their inventor, Orville H.Carlisle .... G.Harry sold these rock-a-chute motors via his Model Missiles,Inc....which was later bought out by Vern Estes and became Estes Industries...
This is why :
1. Orville Carlisle was NAR #1 and G.Harry Stine was NAR #2
2. Orville Carlisles original Mark 1 and 2 Rock-A-chute models are in the Air and Space museum courtesy of G.Harry Stine....
3. Before Vern Estes made Mabel and started mass producing the model rocket motors, they were contracted out to a Brown Manufacturing Co, headed by a Larry Brown was here that the 2.75" standard model rocket tube came it was from a common fireworks....
4. Orville Carlisle received a patent for both the model rocket motor and model rocket on 7/1/1958 after originally applying for such on aug 30,1954........
5. This patent was ruled invalid later in a lawsuit between Orville Carlisle and Estes Industries I do beleive.....

Orville Carlisle died in 1988.....G.Harry Stine passed in 1997....only Vern Estes of the original 3 is still with us.....
But basically...Vern had a machine making motors with nothing to put them in so he came up with Estes Industries so he could market his motors.
At next years NARAM I am going to make a point of talking with Vern about how he and G.Harry and Orville all came to gether, but from what I have read/heard is that Brown Manufacturing was having some difficulty in making reliable mass production rocket motors for G.Harry Stines, Model Missiles,Inc......Now MMI existed from early 1958 to early-mid early to mid 1960 is when Vern sent out his first Estes Industries catalog... see the Ninfinger site for a copy witha signed verification by Vern Estes....

I am not sure who approached Vern Estes to make model rockets..I do not know if Vern was approached by G.Harry representing MMI.... I do not know if Orville or his brother Robert were partners with G.Harry in MMI....I do not know how Vern Estes became aware of model rockets... I have heard various stores concerning what Vern Estes did right prior to starting Estes Industries...I have read/heard that he was an oil wildcatter, I have heard that he was a building Contractor.....Perhaps he was both at different times in his early life, entirely possible....remember that G.Harry was only 25 years old in 1957.... and I was 2 yrs old...I hope to have all these details by this time next year....
I recall reading (rmr?) that the first Mabel is at the factory on display.
and that all their subsequent motor making machines are referred to as "Mabel's"

also his first Mabel could produce more motors than MMI could use, so he started making his own rockets as well.

the book should be a good read!
NEWS Update: Just found this in my archives:

Harry Stine approached Vern about making a better way to manufacture model rocket motors. Vern had previously designed a couple of other items for MMI (Model Missiles,
Inc). Vern's family was also in the fireworks wholesaling business.

where did Vern come up with the Astron that preceded his earliest rocket designs?

He was looking for something to help describe what his kits did. He saw the were 'astro' in his 1958 dictionary, which meant 'above and beyond'. He liked the sound of that, but
thought 'astron' sounded better than 'astro' in front of the kit names.

Vern Estes has a letter in his possession from G.Harry Stine in 1958 where G.Harry Stine described in considerable detail how model rocket motors were manufactured....This became the genesis for the first Mabel.....and yes all succeeding model rocket motor making machines have been affectionately called MABEL..

I still do not know HOW Vern Estes and G.Harry Stine were originally introduced or how they became aware of one another..
It was Carlisle that first wrote to Stine after seeing an article in mechanics illustrated by Stine..Stine was a range safety officer at White Sands at the time and had written an article pleading to amature rocketeers about safety.. Stine replied and Carlisle sent him some motors and rockets. Stine and the others at White sands launched them and were impressed with them..the rest is history