The name for this class was devised by the production staff and was revealed by the Okudas in the Star Trek Encyclopedia, including the ship's registry number, which was taken directly from the model itself. Production photos of this class appeared in the special features section of the TNG Season 3 and TNG Season 4 DVDs.
The scratch-built "kit-bash" studio model of the pre-damaged Niagara-class USSPrinceton was created at Gregory Jein, Inc. by Jein and his staff for the "graveyard" scene that the USSEnterprise-D traveled through following the Battle of Wolf 359 in The Best of Both Worlds, Part II. Jein used the molds he had of the Ambassador級 and the two-foot Galaxy級 studio models to cast parts for the secondary hull and nacelles, respectively. The other parts he built from scratch. The model was from the start constructed as being pre-damaged. Michael Okuda later remarked, "Greg Jein built a number of severely-damaged hulls and parts for the graveyard scene. Greg is one of the unsung heroes of Star Trek. (...) The three-nacelled ship was made by Greg Jein. (...) I remember reminding Greg that Gene didn't approve of odd-numbers of nacelles."  The appearance of the class in Unification I was stock footage of "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II".
Apart from the Niagara-class, Jein also constructed the pre-damaged Freedom級 USSFirebrand for the episode, using his own production assets unlike Okuda, Rick Sternbach, and Ed Miarecki, who constructed their models from commercially-available AMT/Ertl model kits (enhanced with miscellaneous other pieces and first built "intact" and "damaged" later).