A Story of Mechanical Solar Systems, Clocks, and English Nobility

  • Tony Buick

Part of the Astronomers' Universe book series (ASTRONOM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Tony Buick
    Pages 1-51
  3. Tony Buick
    Pages 97-147
  4. Tony Buick
    Pages 199-251
  5. Tony Buick
    Pages 253-287
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 289-299

About this book


To find the true story of the orrery, this book takes the reader to the vibrant, tumultous London of the 1600s. A mechanical model that shows the movements of the Moon and planets, the orrery takes its name from the Boyle family – the Earls of Orrery. Here is the fascinating story of the origins of this intricate device.

Orreries are found everywhere. They appear in paintings, on the side of royal clocks, in stately home hallways, and of course, in museums all over the world. Scientific instruments to demonstrate the movements of the planets and predict their positions using measuring devices, they were devised largely by clockmakers, but many others played a role too and are given due credit.

The story of the Boyles is not just relevant to a tiny corner of Ireland, but spans history. “Orrery” highlights the process of discovery and humankind’s universal fascination with the heavens, providing a fascinating example of the relationship between innovative thinking (invention) and precision engineering (execution). It will appeal to anyone interested in popular astronomy, astronomical mechanical devices, scientific instruments, the history of clocks  - and even the history of aristocratic and prestigious families!


Astronomical Clocks Earls of Orrery History of the Orrery Mechanical Astronomical Instruments Modern Orrery Planetarium Models Solar System Models Thomas Tompion Types of Orrery

Authors and affiliations

  • Tony Buick
    • 1
  1. 1.OrpingtonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7043-4
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, New York, NY
  • eBook Packages Physics and Astronomy
  • Print ISBN 978-1-4614-7042-7
  • Online ISBN 978-1-4614-7043-4
  • Series Print ISSN 1614-659X
  • Series Online ISSN 2197-6651
  • About this book