Description: Michigan: c. 1930-1940
Geared tellurian by Trippensee, with a terrestrial globe rotating at the end of a maple arm, and with a black-and-white painted wood representation of the moon revolving the earth, both revolving around a central brass sphere representing the sun, and with a black-and-white painted wood representation of Venus also revolving the sun. The entire assembly is mounted on a turned maple central standard, set on a round, stepped and weighted brass base, with an inset circular zodiac dial. Some models also have the maker’s label and a small, round compass inset on the arm. When turned by hand by a metal post under the arm, the earth rotates, and the earth, moon and Venus revolve. The three-inch terrestrial globe was manufactured by Rand McNally and copyrighted 1891; oceans are colored blue, the United States pink, Canada yellow, and Mexico green, with similar coloring throughout.
Ebonized Arm, c. 1930s. Round metal label. Original box.
Condition: Very fine overall. Earth globe bright. No dents in brass. Moon and Venus very good. Gears and chains work very well. Original box a bit worn and distressed.
Location of Origin: North America
Dimensions: 14 inches high; 21 inches long
Primary Classification: Scientific Instruments and Natural History : Globes, Orrery, and Planetaria
Expertise: The Trippensee Planetarium is a demonstration model of the movement of the earth, moon and Venus relative to each other and to the sun. It shows such phenomena as the succession of seasons, and solar and lunar eclipses. In addition to its educational objective, the tellurian is also decorative and entertaining. The original models, patented in 1908 have maple arms and central standards Models produced circa second quarter of the 20th century have ebonized arms and central standards. Models made after World War II models are of Bakelite or plastic.
Shield-form Cartouche on Globe: The/ Trippensee/ Mfg. Co.,/ Detroit,/ Mich.
Additional Legend on Globe: Rand, McNally & Co's/ New 3 Inch/ Terrestrial Globe/ Copyright 1891, by/ Rand McNally & Co.
Maker’s Label on Arm (varies with different models, sometimes not present as issued): THE TRIPPENSEE PLANETARIUM/ PAT. U.S. MAR. 10, '08, CANADA JULY 21, '08, / THE TRIPPENSEE MFG. CO./ DETROIT, MICH., U.S.A. (rectangular metal label with silver typeface on black ground).
Condition: Varies with each model. Each generally good in working condition, though gearwork on vintage Trippensee tellurians is often susceptible to scattered skipping, disengagement, etc. Some with brass repolished. Some with replaced sun. Earth globes generally very good with the usual overall toning, wear, restored abrasions. Moon and Venus generally good, some with flaking of paint. Some have the original box, though the box is generally distressed. For specific condition reports on those available.
Our models are sold in working condition, however, we are frequently asked about replacement parts or repair of antique and vintage tellurians:
Spare Parts: Trippensee is still in business, now owned by Science First. We do not sell spare parts, but the company does. Replacement parts, such as chains and gears, are often available for their current line as well as for older models. For more information, contact them.
Repair: If you are having trouble getting the chains or gears on your planetarium to engage, you might try taking it to a local antique clock repair person.
Reference: Hovey, Edward. Elements of Mathematical Geography - A Hand Book for School and Home Use in Connection with the Trippensee Planetarium. Detroit: 1911.