Giles Orrery

This clockwork mechanism shows Mercury, Venus, Earth and Moon orbiting the Sun. There is a dial for the Moon’s Age and another for Solar Time. The inscription reads: “JAMES GILES, Master of GRAVESEND / FREE-SCHOOL, Invt et Fecit.” The signature probably refers to James Giles Jr., who also built a curious sundial at Milton Church, and wrote a text on English grammar.
Ref: Henry C. King and John R. Millburn, Geared to the Stars. The Evolution of Planetariums, Orreries, and Astronomical Clocks (Toronto, 1978), pp. 166-167.
Robert Pockock, The History of the Incorporated Town and Parishes of Gravesend and Milton (Gravesend, 1797), p. 117.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1800
James Giles
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 62.2 cm x 44.7 cm; 24 1/2 in x 17 19/32 in
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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