Campbell Tellurian

Stillman P. Campbell was an itinerant doctor who invented several quite unrelated devices. While living in Buffalo in 1867, he obtained a patent (#66,791) for a hand-cranked orrery in which the Earth with its moon moved in an elliptical orbit around a gas-jet Sun. The Tellurian Manufacturing Co. of Hartford obtained the rights for this patent and showed “the improved Campbell tellurian” at the American Institute fair of 1870. This tellurian was available in two sizes: 18 inches diameter with a 3-inch globe, and 36 inches diameter with a 6-inch globe.
This example is of the larger size. Its octagonal wooden box is marked “TELLURION / Patented July 16th 1867 / Dr. S. P. CAMPBELL”
Ref: An Epitome of Astronomy, Arranged to Assist in the Manipulation and Understanding of Campbell’s Tellurian (Hartford, 1870).
D. J. Warner, “The Geography of Heaven and Earth,” Rittenhouse 2 (1988): 52.
Currently not on view
Object Name
orrery, Tellurian
date made
ca 1870
Campbell, Stillman P.
Tellurian Manufacturing Co.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 35 in; 88.9 cm
place made
United States: Connecticut, Hartford
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
Credit Line
John Sands

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