Pre-TOS Ships (before 2200)
Few facts about the look of ships in the early days of Starfleet had been established when I began sketching up the following vessels in the early 1990s. Now we have Enterprise NX-01 and her classmates from Star Trek Enterprise, but the vessels look so much different and are so much more advanced than anything we would have expected in this era. Still, we have to accept that transporters come into use as soon as 2151, and that the ships already have precursors of phasers and photon torpedoes, unlike it is the case in my following old write-ups. Only deflector shields are not yet available on NX-01.
A second starship from this era to be taken into consideration is the Daedalus class that may be already in service during the Romulan War and later in Starfleet from the very beginning in 2161 to the end of the 22nd century. The spherical main hull and cylindrical secondary hull and nacelles of this class, in contrast to the NX-01, represent a very simplistic design approach. The Daedalus could be seen only in the form of a model (as a homage to Matt Jefferies) and never as a "real" ship but qualifies as canon. It already incorporates characteristic details of later designs, such as a raised bridge deck, a shuttlebay in the stern and Bussard ramscoops on the nacelles, but is visibly less advanced. Unfortunately, there is not a single canon design from the years 2167 to 2245, but the development from the Daedalus to the Constitution class is easy to interpolate.
Pre-TOS starships are significantly slower (<< Warp 6) and generally smaller than TOS ships. Hull numbers are below NCC-1000.