Orrery planetary model by Thomas Wright, 1718-1747

Made:
1718-1747 in England and London
maker:
Thomas Wright

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License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Orrery showing Sun, Earth & Moon by Thomas Wright, London early 18th century. Modified for display with wooden base (removed) and later separate pulley to drive wheelwork (removed).

Dated to the mid eighteenth century, this planetary model was made by the London instrument Maker Thomas Wright. 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. This example has a wooden drum base with a hand painted plate and brass calendar ring supported on pillars. Such devices 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 type of orrery would have been commonly employed at public astronomy lectures.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1919-1
Materials:
brass, incomplete, iron, plaster, wood
type:
planetaria (models)
taxonomy:
  • disciplines
  • disciplines
  • science
  • natural sciences
  • physical sciences
credit:
Mr Thomas H. Court
status:
Permanent collection

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