What were old mechanical planetarium machines called?




planetarium machine history Dale McMahon

Friday, July 4, 2008 9:52:17 PM





What were the old planetarium machines called?
The ones that had planets physically rotating around the sun....usually on some kind of wires, tracing the orbits of the planets around the sun.
Dale McMahon


Prior to the establishment of projection planetarium devices in the 1920s and 1930s, a mechanical device known as an orrery was considered a planetarium. Here is a link to a Wikipedia description of an orrery:

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Here is a link describing the Orrery that was displayed in the Great  Hall of Pittsburgh’s original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science for many years:

< >.


For more information, or a clarification, send your request to the following electronic mail address:
                                      < >.
Editor’s Note: This astronomically-related question was answered by Glenn A. Walsh, who served as
Astronomical Observatory Coordinator and a Planetarium Lecturer at Pittsburgh’s original
Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Mr. Walsh also served as a Life 
Trustee, on the Board of Trustees, of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania in the 
late 1990s, including one year as the Library’s Treasurer.
Today, Mr. Walsh is Project Director of a not-for-profit organization, Friends of the Zeiss, which works for the 
preservation and continued functionality of the historic equipment and artifacts of a
pioneer in the history of the development of planetaria and museums of the physical sciences, Pittsburgh's
Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science, including the Zeiss II Planetarium Projector,
now the oldest operable major planetarium projector in the world !
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < >
Electronic Mail - < > 
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh: 
  < > 
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago: 
  < >
* Astronomer & Optician John A. Brashear: 
  < > 
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries: 
  < > 
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh: 
  < >

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