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Past and Present Models

Model 103 - desk top Orrery



A stand mounted model showing the motions of the Earth-Moon-Sun system.

This model shows ...

  • the Earth revolving on its axis, showing day and night
  • the Earth revolving around the Sun
  • the Earth's axis fixed in space, showing the seasons
  • the Moon revolving around the Earth
  • the rotation of the Moon so that the same face is towards the Earth
  • the phases of the Moon
  • the inclination of the Moon's orbit to the plane of the ecliptic
  • the movement of the nodes of the Moon's orbit (allowing lunar and solar eclipses to be predicted)
  • the date
  • the leap year cycle, showing February 29th once every four years
  • the star map for the night sky at midnight for the date shown

The Earth and moon are made from silver spheres, the sun is a gold plated ball and the stars are silver alloy set in a blued steel plate.

The model stands 9in (230mm) high and is 11½in (290mm) wide.

Model 110 - Table top Orrery



A Table Orrery showing the Sun, Earth, Moon, Mercury and Venus. Not stocked, but available on request.

The model stands 9½in (240mm) high and the year dial is 11½in (290mm) wide.

The Earth and moon are made from silver spheres, the sun is a golden ball and the stars are silver alloy set in a blued steel plate. Mercury is made from a garnet and Venus from a pearl.
A hand engraved plate lists the siderial and synodic planetary periods, and
one turn of the ebony handle rotates the Earth through two days.

Turning the handle shows ...

  • Mercury orbiting around the Sun
  • Venus orbiting around the Sun
  • the Earth revolving on its axis, showing day and night
  • the Earth orbiting around the Sun
  • the Earth's axis fixed in space, showing the seasons
  • the Moon orbiting around the Earth
  • the rotation of the Moon, so it always shows the same face to the Earth
  • the phases of the Moon
  • the inclination of the Moon's orbit to the plane of the ecliptic
  • the movement of the nodes of the Moon's orbit (allowing lunar and solar eclipses to be predicted)
  • the date (the civil calendar)
  • the leap year cycle, showing February 29th once every four years
  • the star map of the night sky at midnight for that day of the year.

Model 116 - a stand mounted planetarium



This model of the Solar system shows all nine planets. A small batch is produced each year. The top dial shows a selection of astronomical data, and can be personalised at no extra cost.

The model is 11 inches (280 mm) high, and the top dial is 9 inches (228 mm) across. Turning the ebony handle shows...
  • the Earth orbiting the Sun
  • the Earth's axis fixed in space, showing the seasons
  • the Moon orbiting around the Earth
  • the rotation of the Moon, always showing the same face to the Earth
  • the date (the civil calendar)
  • the movement of the other planets in the Solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

Each planet is represented by a white Jade sphere, Earth is a blue glass sphere with the continents painted on in naturalistic colours, the Moon is a real pearl and the Sun is a gold plated 1 3/8 inch diameter brass sphere.

Model 118 — A floor standing library orrery showing the Sun, Moon, Earth and with a rotating Star map. Not stocked but available on request.

The model is 54" high overall, and stands on a 26" high base quarter veneered in mahogany.
The mechanism is surrounded by a 24" brass armillary sphere, and turning the handle shows:

  • the Earth revolving on its axis, showing day and night
  • the Earth orbiting around the Sun
  • the Earth's axis fixed in space, showing the seasons
  • the Moon orbiting around the Earth
  • the rotation of the Moon, always showing the same face to the Earth
  • the inclination of the Moon's orbit to the plane of the ecliptic
  • the movement of the nodes of the Moon's orbit (allowing lunar and solar eclipses to be predicted) the date (the civil calendar)
  • the star map for the night sky at midnight for the date shown

The earth sphere is a 3" globe, with 12 gores and two polar culottes applied to a wooden former. The globe (by Greaves and Thomas) is an accurate reproduction of an 1830 original.

The moon is a silver ball engraved with a representation of the Moon's face, and the Sun is a gold plated brass sphere.


Model 115 Sun & Earth scale model

This is the answer to the question "why don't orreries show planets to scale?"



The 100 mm (4 inch) hollow brass sphere represents the Sun. As you pull the ring away from the 'Sun' a 1 mm Earth appears on a strong nylon line. This line stops when the Earth is the correct scale distance from the Sun ... 10.8 meters (35 feet 5 inches) away!


Model 138 – Jupiter and the Galilean moons



Built as a tribute to Galileo’s discovery of the four moons of Jupiter in January 1610

One turn of the handle represents one Earth day, Jupiter orbits the Sun in 4332 days, the four moons orbit Jupiter in times ranging from 42 hours to 16.5 days. Also shown orbiting at the correct rate is an Earth/Moon system for comparison.