The Rittenhouse Orrery at the University of Pennsylvania Library, Philadelphia, PA.
flipFlip to Detail of the Rittenhouse Orrery, University of Pennsylvania library, Philadelphia, PA.
Close Window

Image of the complete Orrery.

Credit: Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In the early 1770s David Rittenhouse made two remarkably accurate mechanical models of the solar system, called orreries, that included movement of the planets and their satellites. Thomas Jefferson was so impressed that he called the Rittenhouse orrery he saw "as great a proof of mechanical genius as the world has ever produced." Today, one is owned by the University of Pennsylvania and the other resides in Princeton University's Peyton Hall.

Back to Top