After spending four years perfecting (and patenting) the model rocket and a solid-propellant motor to power it, Orville H. Carlisle formed Model Missiles, Inc., the first model rocket company. Carlisle formed the company with G. Harry Stine.
MMI came into existence on October 8, 1957 - just four days after the launch of Sputnik. The company's first model rocket kit was a scale model of the Aerobee-Hi. MMI obtained a license to use the name and design from the Aerojet-General Company.
After a short time, MMI found that it couldn't produce enough model rocket motors to fill the growing demand. MMI turned to Vern Estes who built a machine (eventually dubbed "Mabel") to automate the process of manufacturing model rocket motors.
After Model Missiles, Inc. failed, Vern Estes continued producing model rocket motors and began selling kits under his own company's name, Estes.