Interesting photo of Orville Carlisle

Here is a photo of Orville Carlisle that appeared in an Esquire magazine. The photo was taken in the Fireworks museum he had created in the back of his Norfolk, Nebraska shoe store.

Does anyone know more about this picture?

What model rocket is he holding?
What year and issue of Esquire magazine did this photo come from?

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10 Responses to Interesting photo of Orville Carlisle

  1. Tim Heffernan says:

    Hello –

    I’m an editor at Esquire. I came across this page in my daily Google News search for stories related to the magazine and figured I could lend a hand.

    The photo is from a June 1985 article by none other than the late, great George Plimpton. “The Rockets’ Red Glare,” as the article is titled, also appeared in his 1984 book “Fireworks” and our 1985 book “Esquire’s The Soul of America” — essentially a repackaging of the 6/85 issue.

    I haven’t been able to find a digital version of the article, but what with eBay, Alibris, Powell’s Books and the like, I imagine you’ll be able to find a used hardcopy without too much trouble, if you want to pursue it that far.

    No word in the article, I’m afraid, as to what model of rocket he’s holding.

    Yours –


  2. rocketry says:

    Thanks Tim that is very helpful.

  3. Roy Green says:

    It is the Delta Wedge.

    I first thought it was an Estes Design of the Month winner, but then I figured Mr. Carlisle probably didn’t keep up *that* closely with the hobby and that it must’ve been an off the shelf kit. I assumed that the photo came from the late 70’s, so I looked through awhile in those years and came up empty. Finally Mr. Heffernan’s answer gave the clue of 1985.

  4. Frank Musso says:

    I met Orville in the early 70’s at a PGI convention in MIchigan.. His hobby was at first rocket designs especially motors. When you mentioned the word fireworks his eyes would light up and he would talk endlessly about his hobby. Until he passed in 1988 he wrote me many letters and we spoke over the telephone many times. He shared many of his techniques with me.. I feel privledged to have been his friend, and fellow pyro. He was a gentleman and a scholar.. I still remember all of our conversations, and as I read over his old letters to me I still feel his excitement and love of our hobby.. I miss you old friend…..Frank Musso, Bath, N.Y.

  5. Ronald says:

    Now I wonder where the fireworks museum ended up…?

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  7. Kevin Glenn Huey says:

    The fireworks museum was located in a shop just east of Carlisle’s Correct Shoes in Norfolk, Nebraska. To gain access, one had to enter through the shoe store Orv ran with his brother Bob and son Jim. It remained in place until Jim passed away and Carlisle’s Correct Shoes closed its doors. Containing not only fireworks (inert), posters of firework shows and companies, it also had a wide variety of cannons, from a tiny size to a one-sixth size field gun mounted on a limber we would shoot at the gun range east of town when I was a kid, and an extensive collection of cap pistols. When the family closed the store, they put the contents of the museum in storage.

  8. Carol Schaffer McRae says:

    My famIly and I lived next door to Orville and his family on Prospect in Norfolk. His fireworks experiments were very exciting for us; it was Fourth of July all year around because Orville was always experimenting with a new rocket. Mary, Orville’s wife still lives in Norfolk as does their daughter Margaret and they still own that home on Prospect. Maybe that is where the fireworks museum is stored!
    Carol Schaffer McRae

  9. This is a wonderful picture, I owned the store on Norfolk Avenue for a few years and heard some of the stories told about Orville and the boys shooting fireworks in the basement in the fireplace. It would be really great if we could find any extra photos or stories to post because Norfolk will be 150 years at the turn of 2016 🙂

    Angela Keating,

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