An English Table Orrery

Contributed by Museum of the History of Science

An English Table Orrery

This beautiful model of the solar system is an example of a type of instrument known as an 'orrery'. It is made of wood, brass and ivory with a paper scale which was printed and pasted on the top and coloured by hand. It is inscribed 'Published 1st July 1816, by I. & W. Newton 66 Chancery Lane, LONDON', and signed 'Cary London'. The instrument shows the planets as far as Uranus (Mercury and Venus are missing) and could be used to demonstrate the motions of the Earth and Moon relative to each other and to the Sun. Such instruments were popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries and this type would have been more affordable than those which were made of brass.

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