Cosmosphere by William and John Cary

mm cm in
Selected print option
Art prints
Print size 28.0 x 35.5 cm
Size of image:
18.6 x 30.5 cm
Frame: Unframed
Availability Ready to print

Image Details

William and John Cary
Product code:
© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London


The Cosmosphere consists of a printed terrestrial globe, set inside a revolving glass celestial globe. It was invented by Dr William Muller, a major of the Royal Hanoverian Engineers from Woolwich, and made by the Cary brothers. In a pamphlet of 1829 called "The Cosmosphere: an Instrument substituting an Orrery, a Planetarium, a Tellurium, a Lunarium, an Armillary Sphere, a Celestial and a Terrestrial Globe, for Self-Instruction and for Schools.", Muller described it as "an apparatus that will represent and explain the universe". The full version of the Cosmosphere would have included a planetarium that could replace the terrestrial globe within the glass celestial sphere.

The glass sphere is attached to a brass meridian ring which is clamped to a column and base. The meridian ring can be adjusted to the desired latitude, between 0 and 90 degrees, and is engraved with a degree scale and "MULLER'S PATENT". The clamp also secures the terrestrial globe and brass rings with degree scales to indicate longitude. The glass celestial sphere has the constellations (stars linked with dotted lines and names) and graduated lines marking the ecliptic and the equator painted on it and is cracked is several places. The stars are represented by different colours and symbols, but there is no explanatory table. The Milky Way is labelled 'Via Lectea'. 48 Ptolemaic constellations and four of the non-Ptolemaic constellations are labelled. Six of the twelve southern constellations of Plancius are drawn, as well as three of those of Hevelius and five of those of Lacaille.

The terrestrial sphere bears the legend "CARY'S NEW SIX INCH TERRESTRIAL GLOBE DRAWN FROM THE LATEST AUTHORITIES. London. Published by G & I CARY. January 1 1824." On the terrestrial sphere, the tracks of all Cook's voyages are recorded and dated and eight oceans are named.
William and John Cary, William Muller

The Artist: William and John Cary

Look for more William and John Cary prints.


Cosmosphere appears in:

Product Groups