Holbrook Tellurian

Josiah Holbrook (1788-1854) was an educational reformer, an advocate of the method known as “object teaching,” and an entrepreneur who began selling simple and inexpensive educational apparatus in the 1830s. Holbrook’s sons, Alfred and Dwight, established a “Lyceum Village” at Berea, Ohio, in the 1840s, and manufactured school apparatus.
Holbrook’s tellurian with pulley adjustment was intended “to illustrate all the phenomena resulting from the relations of the Earth, Moon and Sun to each other.” In this example the Sun is a 5-inch wooden sphere painted yellow. The Earth is a 3-inch wooden sphere covered with an engraved paper map. The horizon is marked “HOLBROOK & CO BEREA, OHIO” and “J. Brainerd Sc. Cleveland, O.” The plane of the ecliptic is marked “Holbrook & Co. Berea, Ohio.”
Ref: Text-Book to Accompany Holbrook’s Scientific Apparatus (Hartford, 1853), pp. 40-54.
D. J. Warner, “The Geography of Heaven and Earth,” Rittenhouse 2 (1988): 94-95.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
associated person
Holbrook, Josiah
Holbrook, Alfred
Holbrook, Dwight
Holbrook & Co.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 30.5 cm x 19.7 cm x 52.7 cm; 12 in x 7 3/4 in x 20 3/4 in
place made
United States: Ohio, Berea
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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