This model of the fictional starship Enterprise was used in the weekly hour-long "Star Trek" TV show (NBC-TV), which aired from September 1966 until June 1969. Despite its short initial run (only three seasons), Star Trek became one of the most popular shows in the history of television. The show's depiction of a mixed-sex, racially-integrated, multinational crew and its attention to contemporary social and political issues pushed the boundaries of network television, earning Star Trek a dedicated fan base that lobbied for the franchise's continuation.
The Enterprise was meant to travel many times beyond light speed, powered by a controlled matter/anti-matter system, a propulsion concept "stretched" from a then-accepted theory. The fictional ship grossed 190,000 tons, and measured 947 feet long and 417 feet in diameter. The saucer-shaped hull included 11 decks, and had a crew complement of 430.
The model's principal designer, Walter "Matt" Jefferies, worked with concepts provided by Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry. At first, Desilu Productions commissioned a rough 4-inch balsa and cardboard prototype. A 3-foot "pilot" model mostly of solid wood was then built by model-maker Richard C. Datin under subcontract to the Howard Anderson Company. Enlarging the plans for the 3-foot model resulted in the final 11-foot model shown here. The Anderson Company again turned to Datin who contracted it out to Production Model Shop of Burbank, California, with Datin supervising the construction while he did the detail work.
Paramount Studios donated the model to the National Collection in 1974.
Gift of Paramount Pictures Inc.