Small orrery on mahogany stand showing 6 planets out to Saturn by B. Martin, London, mid 18th century.
Dated to the middle of the eighteenth century, this miniature planetary model was made by the London instrument maker, Benjamin Martin. Called an orrery or planetarium, it is a demonstration device to show the motions of the Earth, Moon and planets around the Sun. This example has a brass calendar base with a wooden pedestal stand and six planets out to Saturn on rod-arms. Such apparatus became popular during seventeenth century, especially after Sir Isaac Newton published his universal theory of gravity. To reproduce the motions of the solar system this model employs a hand crank to drive gear wheels. This orrery was probably a novelty piece of a wealthy individual rather a device used by a serious astronomy lecturer.
- Object Number:
- planetaria (models)
- natural sciences
- physical sciences
- Perceval, S.G.
- Permanent collection
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