Back before computers were ubiquitous, salespeople had a hard time showing their customers what stuff looked like, especially big stuff. Sure, there were photographs and drawings, but for a full three-dimensional effect, you needed a physical model. That’s where Topping, Inc. came in.
Having developed new injection molding methods, Topping was the place to get models back in the 50s and 60s. Remember that scene in The Graduate? (“One word: PLASTICS”) Well, Topping would’ve been the place to work. If you peruse the 1961 Topping catalog that was uploaded to the internet after half a century in hiding, you can tell from the clients it showcases, that these guys knew their plastics.
Again, the full catalog is online in PDF form, and it’s a lot of fun to peruse. Not only do you get to gawk at cool models of crazy things like the Air Force’s experimental flying saucer or a truck-mounted missile; you also get a sense of what cutting edge technology looked like in 1961. Even though the designs are all half a century old at this point, many of the models still seem futuristic. Unfortunately, the plastic model business was not very futuristic. Topping went out of business in the early 1970s. [Collect Space via Boing Boing]