Trade card for Benjamin Cole showing the 'grand orrery', 18-19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
An orrery or planetarium is a demonstration model to show the motions of the Earth, Moon and planets around the Sun, in this example, using clockwork. Such devices became popular during the 17th century, especially after Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) published his universal theory of gravity in 1687. It is not known who made the original 'grand orrery', only that Thomas Wright made such extensive modifications in 1733 that this model has since been referred to as Wright's grand orrery. Benjamin Cole (1695-1766) was succeeded by his son of the same name (1725-1813).