Holbrook Tellurian

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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
date made
associated person
Holbrook, Josiah
Holbrook, Alfred
Holbrook, Dwight
Holbrook & Co.
place made
United States: Ohio, Berea
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
overall: 12 1/2 in x 20 3/4 in x 7 3/4 in; 31.75 cm x 52.705 cm x 19.685 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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