The end of time? – A conjunction of planets occurred on 8 May 1774. Before it happened, people insisted that these planets would collide with one another, the result being that the earth would be pulled from its orbit and incinerated in the sun. Eise Eisinga, a Frisian wool-comber wanted to show that there was no reason for panic. So he built an orrery or planetarium
The Eisinga Planetarium is an orrery, a working model of the solar system. It was built from 1774 to 1781 by Eise Eisinga in his own home in Franeker. The “face” of the model looks down from the ceiling of what used to be his living room, with most of the mechanical works in the space above the ceiling. It is driven by a pendulum clock, which has 9 weights or ponds. The planets move around the model in real time, automatically. (A slight “re-setting” must be done by hand every four years to compensate for the February 29th of a leap year. The orrery includes a display for the current time and date. The plank that has the year numbers written on it has to be replaced every decade. To create the gears for the model, 10,000 nails were used. In addition to the basic orrery, there are displays of the phase of the moon and other astronomical phenomena.
Edited from Eisinga Planetarium