Orrery planetary model by James Ferguson, 1755-1756

Made:
1755-1756 in London
maker:
James Ferguson
Orrery planetary model by James Ferguson, 1755-1756 (demonstration models; orreries; planetaria (models)) Orrery planetary model by James Ferguson, 1755-1756 (demonstration models; orreries; planetaria (models)) Orrery planetary model by James Ferguson, 1755-1756 (demonstration models; orreries; planetaria (models)) Orrery planetary model by James Ferguson, 1755-1756 (demonstration models; orreries; planetaria (models))

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Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

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License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden pulley Orrery with case by James Ferguson, London to illustrate the motions of the Moon and Earth around the Sun, c.1755.

Dated to the mid-eighteenth century, this planetary model was made and designed by the astronomer James Ferguson (1710-1776). Called an orrery or more correctly a tellurium, it is a demonstration model to show the motions of the Earth and Moon around the Sun. This example is of all-wood construction with printed-paper scales and labelling. Such devices became popular during seventeenth century, especially after Sir Isaac Newton published his universal theory of gravity. To reproduce the motions of the solar system this model uses hand driven pulleys with cords. This type of model would have been commonly employed at astronomy lectures such as those widely given Ferguson during his lifetime.

Details

Category:
Astronomy
Object Number:
1934-134
Materials:
mahogany, paper, hemp and complete
type:
demonstration models, orreries and planetaria (models)
credit:
Mr Thomas H. Court

Parts

Wooden case for wooden pulley Orrery with case by James Ferguson

Wooden case for wooden pulley Orrery with case by James Ferguson

Wooden case for wooden pulley Orrery with case by James Ferguson, London, mid 18th century.

Materials:
wood
Object Number:
1934-134 Pt1
type:
components , storage boxes and instruments
Mahogany pulley orrery

Mahogany pulley orrery

Wooden pulley orrery made by James Ferguson to illustrate the motions of the Moon and Earth around the Sun.


During the 18th century Isaac Newton's theories of the universe were popularised by astronomical lecturers and instrument-makers such as James Ferguson. Ferguson published accessible, illustrated accounts of Newton’s ideas and produced demonstration model orreries. This orrery is based on Ferguson's 'mechanical paradox' design, with wooden wheels operated by pulleys.

Measurements:
Overall: 135 mm x 360 mm x 356 mm, 2.58 kg
Materials:
mahogany , paper , ivory and brass
Object Number:
1934-134 Pt2
type:
components , demonstration models , orreries and planetaria (models)