Where’s Orion? Consult the Galaxy Gizmo!

Remember back to elementary school days and the fascinating objects the teacher used to help you learn.  It might have been the roll down maps on the blackboard, the globe or a galaxy planetary system.  The object featured today is a galaxy planetary system from 1881 built by the Thomas Kane & Company.

The Thomas Kane & Company was started by F.H. Head, Thomas Kane, E.G. Durant and I.C. Clapp as the Racine Hardware Manufacturing Company in 1876.  The business was located in Chicago as Kane and Head were both from there.  In 1893 their business failed and was reorganized in 1894 to the Thomas Kane & Company where they made furniture.  In 1906 the company was sold to the American Seating Company where they continued to manufacture furniture.  Thomas Kane & Company sold a variety of furniture that included school furniture and supplies, opera house seating, church and masonic furniture, bank fittings, government and county court house furniture, railroad seats, post office furniture, lock boxes and Kane’s Victor Noiseless School Slates.  The company communicated with schools and business around the country, an example can be seen here.

High Plains Museum | S020 Galaxy Planetary System

High Plains Museum |
S020
Galaxy Planetary System

The item we have in our collection comes from their school supplies collection.  The object on the left is a Galaxy Planetary System from 1881.  The purpose of this object was to aid the teacher in finding celestial objects in our solar system.  The teacher would turn the middle part to get the correct coordinates around the base which would provide the teacher with a location most likely.   This object would have been used in country or one room schools.  One room schools dotted our county with eighty-four school houses by 1893.

Objects like these have been aiding teachers for many years all over the world.  This object helped Sherman County students learn about space and the stars surrounding us in the heavens.  Companies like Thomas Kane & Company bring schools things like the galaxy planetary system but also desks and black or whiteboards that as students we used or use every day.  Objects like these help paint a complete picture of what a one room school house would have been like in Sherman County.  It is through objects like these that we are able to glimpse back in time and see how previous students learned.

This particular object relates to our current exhibit, Earth From Space which features Landsat images of our Earth.  Stop by and make your own star finder and learn how to locate stars yourself!

Look for more posts in this series about our wonderful collection of Sherman County history.

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