George Philip & Son Orrery

This is a mahogany instrument with three short turned legs. The top is painted light blue. A brass disc in the center is engraved “GEORGE PHILIP & SON LTD 32 FLEET ST LONDON E.C. MADE IN ENGLAND.” The Sun and the planets are represented by painted wooden spheres. Earth is covered by paper map gores. Mercury, Venus and Earth, are driven by an open-geared mechanism mounted on top of the center spindle column. The five distant planets have support arms from this center spindle. The drive mechanism is below the table. All moons have wire supports and are moved by hand.
George Philip (1800-1882) was a cartographer and mapmaker who began in business in Liverpool in 1834. His son George (1823-1902) joined the firm in 1848. George Philip & Son, Ltd., later moved to London.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
George Philip & Son
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 20 in; 50.8 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
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
Baldwin-Wallace College

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