The Orrery

   All five pictures belong on this page! The orrery is a table-top mechanical device to show the motion of the planets around the sun, and, in some cases, the movements of moons around planets. It differs from the planetarium only in scale.

   The first orrery was made about 1713 by the London instrument-maker, John Rowley for his patron, Charles Boyle, the fourth Earl of Orrery (1676-1731). The pub named for him is in Youghal (pronounced "yawl") a few miles west of Cork in southern Ireland.

   The Transylvania orrery is by W.&S. Jones of London, and the Middlebury instrument is by Harris of London, and dates from the very early days of the college, which was founded in 1800.
                              Transylvania University                                             Youghal, County Waterford, Ireland
                                Bowdoin College                                                                           Middlebury College
   Most apparatus I see in in museum, university, college and school collections, but occasionally a piece is in an antique shop. This French orrery, ca. 1875, is at James Kennedy Antiques in Durham, North Carolina, which specializes in antique scientific instruments.
   This is an orrery slide, designed to be used in the gate of a lantern slide projector. As the crank is turned, the glass annuli with the planets painted on them revolve about the sun at different rates governed by the gearing. While the periods are correct, the locations of the planets are not.

   This is in the Jack Judson Collection of the Magic Lantern Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

   The orrery slide at the right is in the collection of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.

   The handwriting on it reads "Dr. W.R. Brooks, Geneva, New York." Dr. Brooks was the director of the William Smith Observatory, founded about 1900. William Smith College for women admitted its first students in 1908, while  while Hobart was a men's college dating from 1823.

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