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Drum model bras orrery, 1781-1795.

Drum model bras orrery, 1781-1795.
3 1 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 23cm


Dated to the period between the discovery of Uranus (1781) and the death of its maker George Adams junior (1795), this planetary model is based on a design introduced in the mid 18th century by Benjamin Martin. Called an orrery or planetarium, it is a demonstration model to show the motions of the Earth, Moon and planets around the Sun. It has a bras drum base with pedestal stand and seven planets out to Uranus on long rod-arms. Such devices became popular during the 18th century when the Copernican theory was fully accepted. To reproduce the motions of the solar system this model employs a hand crank to drive gear wheels. This fine orrery would have been the property of a wealthy individual with an interest in astronomy.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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