Trippensee Ptolemaic Solar System Planetarium

Trippensee Ptolemaic Solar System Planetarium

Here’s a strange find. We often visit rural areas of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri in search of oddities. More often than not, these areas have the standard country antiques, but sometimes we find a gem.


At first glance, this looks like a standard educational model that one saw in science classrooms around the country. Trippensee, a Detroit, MI company formed in 1908, was perhaps most well known for their motorized model planetariums called Telluriums. Here’s their original patent.


This shows a standard Copernicus (read correct) view of the solar system, with planets orbiting the sun.


What makes ours an oddity is that it shows a Ptolemy model where the earth is the center of the solar system with the sun and planets orbiting it. Hard to believe that this was manufactured in the 20th century and was used in science classrooms! Fits right in with all of those flat-earthers and science deniers.



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