Universal Planetarium [Tellurian]
T.N. Hubbard Scientific, Illinois: c. 1960s
T.N. Hubbard Universal Planetarium
T.N. Hubbard Universal Planetarium globe detail T.N. Hubbard Universal Planetarium base detail T.N. Hubbard Universal Planetarium globe detail
T.N. Hubbard Universal Planetarium globe detail
T.N. Hubbard Scientific Company/ A.J. Nystrom & Company
Universal Planetarium
Northbrook, Illinois: c. 1960s
12 inches high; 18 inches long; 8 inch diameter base

A tellurian, having a colored four-inch tin terrestrial globe manufactured by the J. Chein Company within a semi-spherical open blue plastic hood, turning at the end of a metal arm and revolving around a central yellow plastic sphere representing the sun. The entire assembly is mounted on an ebonized wooden stand with a circular tapering support, set on a round base with a zodiac calendar printed in white. The arm has a handle for turning and a zodiac pointer to one side of the tapering support. Leopoldville in the Belgian Congo is shown, indicating a date before 1966.

The Universal Planetarium is a demonstration model of the movement of the earth relative to the sun showing various astronomical principles including solar eclipses and the succession of seasons. The chain drive, engaged by turning the arm, is very simple, causing the earth to shift directions to show the seasons, but not causing the earth to spin. Instead the earth is rotated by hand. Along with its educational objectives, the tellurian is also decorative and entertaining.

The manufacturer, T.N. Hubbard Scientific Company of Northbrook, Illinois, was a supplier of school and educational scientific instruments, maps and books, in the mid to late 20th century. Between 1975 and 1991 it was part of Spectrum Industries. This Hubbard device was marketed by A.J. Nystrom, a school supply company and globe seller based in Chicago. The globe on the tellurian was manufactured by J. Chein Company, a toy company and producer of globe novelties based in New York and New Jersey. Read more about A.J. Nystrom and J. Chein in our Guide to Globe Makers.


Oval label on center post of base: A.J. NYSTROM & CO./ Chicago, Illinois/ MAPS • GLOBES • CHARTS • MODELS.

Shield form cartouche on terrestrial globe: J. CHEIN/ & Co./ MADE IN/ U.S.A.

Condition: Globe and planetarium overall all generally very good or better with the usual light wear, handling, toning. Metal arm slightly pitted with oxidation. Globe with very mild oxidation to underlying metal, and a few minor abrasions. Mechanism a bit stiff and erratic but working. This particular model, without moon arm, apparently as issued.


"History." Spectrum Industries. 2009. http://www.spectrumfurniture.com/about/history.cfm (10 December 2013).