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Orrery, 1910-1920.

Orrery, 1910-1920.
3 8 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 30cm


This planetary model was made by Laing Planetarium Company in Detroit, Michigan, United States. Called an orrery, or more correctly a tellurium, it is a demonstration model to show the motions of the Earth and Moon around the Sun. Such devices became popular during the 17th century, especially after Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) published his universal theory of gravity in 1687. To reproduce the motions of the solar system, this model uses hand driven pulleys with cords on a wooden pedestal stand. This type of model would have been commonly employed in schools or colleges to teach astronomy.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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