Planetary Globes

Group 1: Tellurians & Armillaries

Trippensee Planetarium, Maple Arm

Trippensee Tellurian
American: c. 1910
Maple arm
Various available

Trippensee Planetarium, Maple Arm

Trippensee Tellurian
American: c. 1930s
Ebonized arm
Various available

Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere

Louis-Charles Desnos
Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere
Paris: 1753
Pasteboard on ebonized stand
Price on Request

Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere

Charles-François Delamarche
Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere
Paris: c. 1780s
Pasteboard on ebonized stand
Price on Request

Copernican Armillary Orrery

Copernican Armillary Sphere with Internal Orrery
Paris: Mid 19th C.
Brass on ebonized base
Price on Request

T.N. Hubbard Universal Planetarium

T.N. Hubbard Scientific/
A.J. Nystrom
Universal Planetarium
Illinois: c. 1960s
$550

Trippensee Tellurian

Trippensee Tellurian
Michigan: c. 1960
Dense colored plastic
Price on Request

Joslin Manual

Manual for Joslin's New
Solar Telluric Globe

Boston: 1866
$250

Group 2: Armillaries & Sundials

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About Planetary Models

Planetary models or planetaria are general terms for three-dimensional models of the solar system or of the earth, the moon and the sun. The three major types of planetaria are the tellurian (tellurium), the orrery and the armillary sphere.

Tellurians (Telluriums)
A tellurian (also called tellurium) is a mechanical astronomical demonstration device used to show seasons, eclipses and other astronomical phenomena relating to these bodies. It is generally operated by clockwork Tellurian gears and chains, or string pulleys, and is comprised of a small terrestrial globe turning at the end of an arm, spherical painted wood representations of the moon and the planet Venus, and a central brass or gilt wood sphere representing the sun above the stand. Often a zodiac scale is affixed to the base. When operated, at relative representational rates, the earth spins once a day and revolves around the sun once a year, the moon revolves around the earth once a month, and Venus revolves around the sun.

Planetary Models

Orreries
An orrery is a mechanical astronomical demonstration device used to shown the relative sizes and motions of the known planets in the solar system. It is generally operated by clockwork gears, and is comprised of spheres on wire armatures representing the planets (and their moons) that turn at relative representational rates around the central brass or gilt wood sphere representing the sun, above the stand.

Restoring Old Planetaria
The Trippensee Company used to sell replacement parts for planetaria, including their older H and S models. They since have been taken over by Science First. For more information, contact them.

Learn More
Collecting Tellurians & Orreries: Transcript of Q & A from George's 2002 appearance on the Martha Stewart Living TV show, or watch the video segment on MarthaStewart.com.
Collecting Celestial Globes & Maps: Q & A from George's 2001 appearance on the Martha Stewart Living TV Show, or watch the video segment on MarthaStewart.com.
The Art of Collecting: Our online articles on collecting.

George Glazer on Martha Stewart Living

Read Martha Stewart's interview with George about Collecting Tellurians and Orreries.

Armillary sphere

Armillary Spheres
Armillary spheres are generally used astronomical demonstration devices or sundials. Typically they have concentric rings to indicate planetary orbits and/or terrestrial and celestial measurement circles, and a zodiac band. We feature a large selection of armillary spheres, both Copernican, with the sun at the center, and Ptolemaic, with the earth at the center. We also feature metal sundial armillary spheres, each generally with a central arrow. Armillaries are made from a variety of materials, including brass, iron, wood, and pasteboard with applied paper calibrations.

A Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere has an earth globe at the center. It is named after Ptolemy, an astronomer of ancient Greece who popularized the geocentric theory of the universe that the sun and planets revolve around the earth. In a Ptolemaic armillary sphere, the central globe is surrounded by an equatorial circle, as well as circles for the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and the Arctic and Antarctic poles. These in turn are surrounded by a zodiac band, all within a meridian (with which the sphere can be rotated) and a stationary horizon band, on a stand, generally with central baluster and round base. Although the name of the Ptolemaic armillary sphere implies that it shows the geocentric theory of the universe, this device does not include the sun or other planets. In our opinion, it was more likely designed to show the positions of the constellations on the zodiac band relative to the “apparent path” of the sun (the zodiac band is positioned on the ecliptic), and to show the position of the earth relative to the other circles in which it is set.

A Copernican Armillary Sphere has a sun ball at the center. It is named after Nicolas Copernicus who popularized the heliocentric theory of the universe that the sun was the center of the universe, and the planets revolve around it. In a Copernican armillary sphere the central sun is surrounded by a series of concentric rings representing the planets (and sometimes asteroid belts) that revolve around the sun. Generally the earth is shown in an opening in the third circle as a sphere, with a small revolving moon. These planetary circles are surrounded by a zodiac band (set as a flat band at the center), and solstice and equinox circles, on a stand, generally with central baluster and round base. This arrangement resembles an orrery on its side; indeed sometimes Copernican armillary spheres contain an orrery with small round or disc planets on rod arms that are moved by hand.

A Sundial Armillary Sphere is made for a garden to tell time by the shadow made from passage of the sun during the day. It is like a simple form Ptolemaic armillary sphere, but with central arrow rather than earth sphere. The zodiac band is calibrated on the inside with daylight hours, and the arrow serves as a sundial gnomon to cast a shadow on the zodiac band to indicate time. The whole is set within equatorial and meridian circles and raised on a stand, often of an atlas figure supporting the sphere. Other stands include a zodiac pyramid, seahorse, baluster, etc. Sundial armillaries were generally intended for garden use and designed so that the base can be bolted into a larger heavy support, such as a columnar garden pedestal. Exterior examples are often used for interior use with a smaller decorative base. Indeed, some sundial armillaries are not weather-proof for garden use; they were intended solely for interior use as decorative objects.

Collecting Planetary Models & Archive

George Glazer with Martha Stewart, Collecting Tellurians and Orrerries

Collecting Tellurians and Orreries
Interview with George on collecting tellurians and orreries by Martha Stewart, 2002

See also Archive Table Globes

For research and reference, view our Archive of Sold Planetary Models

Martha Stewart with George Glazer, Collecting Celestials

Star Spangled Globes
Interview with George on collecting celestial globes and maps by Martha Stewart, 2001

inv_item title place year type material description dimensions condition price fullimage tn
1 Baroque Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere Italian: c. 1900 Ptolemaic metal Brass sphere, raised applied zodiac figures, revolving brass sun with face, central earth sphere. Turned ebonized stand with central standard and round base. 21 inches high, 15.5 inches diameter. Very good condition, only minor wear. 4500 armillaryinv/id1_italbrass.jpg armillaryinv/id1_italbrass-2.jpg
2 Atlas Armillary Sundial American Import: Mid 20th Century Sundial metal Patinated metal sphere, zodiac time dial, central arrow. Patinated metal Atlas-form stand, later wooden base. 31 inches high, 16 inchs diameter sphere, 7 inches diameter base. Very good condition, some light bending to metal, considerable natural oxidation and wear to surface. 1250 armillaryinv/id2_atlas.jpg armillaryinv/id2_atlas-2.jpg
3 Baroque Armillary Sundial Italian: Mid 20th Century Sundial metal iron Gilt iron sphere, painted Roman numerals on zodiac time dial, central arrow. Gilt wood leaf-carved Baroque stand. 20 inches high, 9.5 inches diameter sphere, 5 inches diameter base. Very good condition, with the usual light wear, bending, oxidation. 1200 armillaryinv/id3_baroque.jpg armillaryinv/id3_baroque-2.jpg
4 Large Bronze Armillary Sundial Mid 20th Century Sundial metal bronze Bronze sphere, raised Roman numerals on zodiac time dial, central arrow. Bronze scrolled stand, round platter base. 25 inches high, 18 inches diameter sphere, 13 inches diameter base. 0 armillaryinv/id4_bronze.jpg armillaryinv/id4_bronze-2.jpg
5 Iron Verdigris Armillary Sundial 20th Century Sundial metal iron Four-legged stand, verdigris patina. 550 armillaryinv/id5_ironverdigris.jpg armillaryinv/id5_ironverdigris-2.jpg
6 Iron Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere American Import: Last Quarter 20th Century Ptolemaic metal iron Iron latitude and longitude rods, brass-finished zodiac, central disk earth. Iron baluster stand, round base with gilt line decoration. 26 inches high, 17 inches diameter sphere, 8.75 inchs diameter base. Very good condition, with the usual overall light wear scattered oxidation. 1200 armillaryinv/id6_ironarm.jpg armillaryinv/id6_ironarm-2.jpg
7 Modernist Copernican Armillary Sphere Italian: c. 1970s Copernican metal brass Brass rod sphere with numerous rings, colored wooden planets, central sun. Brass base, weighted. 21 inches high, 10.5 inch diameter sphere, 7.5 inches diameter base. Very good condition, with the usual light wear, minor dents. 1250 armillaryinv/id7_italmod.jpg armillaryinv/id7_italmod-2.jpg
8 Red Decorated Ptolemaic Armillary Sphere Italian: c. 1960s Ptolemaic pasteboard Pasteboard armillary, rings and horizon band with paper calibrations. Wooden zodiac band, central wooden earth sphere, each hand painted. Red legs, ebonized base with paper calibrations and inset compass. 14 inches high, 8 inch diameter sphere, 7 inches diameter base. 0 armillaryinv/id8_redlegs.jpg armillaryinv/id8_redlegs-2.jpg
9 Bronze Armillary Sundial 20th Century Sundial metal Bronze. Relief sun decorations on stand and rings, Roman numerals inscribed within main ring. 1500 armillaryinv/id9_lgbronze.jpg armillaryinv/id9_lgbronze-2.jpg