Holbrook’s School Apparatus Co. (attributed to)
Hartford, Connecticut: c. 1850s
16 inches high; 20.5 inches radius;
7.5 inches diameter base
This item is sold. It has been placed here in our online archives as a service for researchers and collectors.
A geared American orrery, the spherical planets of the solar system and their moons represented by green painted wooden spheres attached to iron rods and Saturn’s ring represented by a brass band, all turning by central clockwork cylindrical brass gearbox with gilt varnish wash finish, under gilt spherical 4.5-inch diameter wooden representation of the sun, engaged by small crank, raised on turned walnut stand with central baluster standard and round base.
Holbrook, the first major promoter of school apparatus as a necessary part of education, was also a primary innovator in developing American orreries and planetaria. An explanation of the Holbrook orrery and tellurian in an 1870s Excelsior School Furniture Mfg. Co. Catalog provides a good general working definition of these instruments:
The Orrery is an instrument which shows the proportional size and relative position of the planets, and times of their revolution. An illustration with this machine brings out our vast system of sun, planets, and moon, into perfect and tangible shape, and in so small a compass that the young, even, can comprehend it.
Full publication information: Holbrook’s School Apparatus Co., 29 Asylum Street, Hartford, Connecticut.