1963 dated Farquhar transparent terrestrial & celestial model

One of the finest instruments produced, this sphere will help you explore the universe that surrounds us – from the many constellations in our heavens, to the movements of the Earth, Sun, and stars, the secrets of navigation, and much more. A beautiful work of art, as well as a superb learning/teaching tool, the 1963 Space Age Farquhar is a three-dimensional star atlas for the unaided eye.  This exquisite vintage scientific instrument combines space-age design with sophisticated celestial documentation.

In 1962 John Glenn used a very similar but smaller version Faquhar model for calculations in the Mercury capsule while orbiting Earth as it was the most precise navigational tool of its time. A true artifact of the Space Age Era.

More Information

The Farquhar Artifact was a model with an Earth globe at the center, a surrounding clear globe representing the stars, and a small yellow ball on a movable arm to represent the sun.
It is a three dimensional geocentric model with the Earth at the center and stars of varying distance from the Earth projected onto the surrounding plastic celestial sphere. The Farquhar Globe is a model that allows you to rotate the Earth, holding the Sun and stars still, or to hold the Earth still and move the Sun and globe of stars around it.
Ancient astronomers developed the geocentric model to explain the apparent motion of the Sun, moon, planets and stars in the sky. For the most part this picture of the solar system worked very well. If the Earth is at the center of a giant sphere with stars fixed on the outer part with Sun, Moon and planets moving on the inner part of the sphere, the motion of the sphere can be used to predict the relative position of stars and other objects. We cannot tell from just looking how far away individual stars are, nor can we tell that they are different distances relative to each other, so having visible stars displayed as if they are all the same distance from Earth corresponds to what we perceive.
Until the development of the atomic clock in the late 1960’s, monitoring the positions of the stars on the celestial sphere was the most accurate means of timekeeping. The positions of the stars, Sun and other objects on the celestial sphere were important in navigation and the U.S. Naval Observatory still provides information about the motion of celestial bodies for the Navy as well as the general public. (http://www.usno.navy.mil/mission.shtml. )
We will provide a facsimile pamphlet of instructions with the artifact.

The impressive transparent outer sphere of the artifact displays constellations and more than 1,100 naked-eye stars, plus many prominent deep-sky objects against a precision grid of Right Ascension and Declination lines. The Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds are shown and deep sky objects are keyed to type. They’re all accurately hand silk-screened on the acrylic sphere’s interior surface of the outer orb. The outer sphere also highlights astral equivalents used to locate stars. An easy three-step setting allows you to reproduce the Earth, Sun, and star movements for any time, date, and location in the world.
Understand more about how the Sun rises and sets, and how the seasons change; surrounding the five-inch diameter inner Earth sphere is a fully adjustable horizon ring to help you visualize the horizon for any location on the planet.
Hand crafted of acrylic, this sphere rests on a sculptured stand with inserted compass.
Diameter of the orb is approx. 13 inches with a total height of about 17 inches.
The production date of 1963 is printed onto the cartouche.

Exceptionally well preserved, without any cracks or discoloration. Minor scuffing to the base and areas of the orb. All is functional and well maintained.

1962 article on the fabrication of Farquhar models

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Monday, Dec. 17, 1962 — 11

Ernest Coleburn trims disc which will become the top half of globe. A plastic globe the size of a grapefruit, made in a cluttered garage in Philadelphia, helps guide U.S. astronauts in outer space. The globe is called an earth path indicator. It is mounted in a small box in the spaceman’s Mercury capsule. The spaceman looks down on it through a window marked with a black dot. The globe automatically turns about its axis like the earth. From the position of the dot, the man, hurtling through the vastness, gets a rough idea where he is at a glance. Creator of the globe is Robert Farquhar, a vigorous, gray-haired man of 60 who, with a five-man staff, has been turning out transparent globes by the thousands for schools, government agencies and display houses for the last 14 years. His workshop is crammed with miniature universes ranging from 4 inches to 4 feet in diameter. Some represent the earth, others the sky with its planets and stars. Making the transparent plexiglass globes, he says, is a difficult business. They can’t be turned out conveyor- belt fashion. There’s a lot of painstaking handwork. In a small way, he feels, his transparent globes will help fit today’s children for their role as tomorrow’s space travelers. ATLAS-LIKE. Holding one of his finished transparent globes, Robert Farquhar could just as easily have toted it on his shoulders like Atlas did, but with much less trouble. Farquhar’s assistants, Ernest Coleburn and John Hines apply clamping ring and tighten edge clamps before heating plastic. The plastic is exposed to controlled heating lamps to soften plastic to correct degree so that if can be formed into hemisphere In the workshop, John Hines hoists a table top with map. He turns it over so the plastic is face down over heating lamps. After hour of slow heating, the plastic is ready fo be blown info half a “bubble”. Globe maker Robert Farquhar hoists a hemisphere. The flat halves are heated, then inflated with air to achieve the desired rounded contour. The ring of plastic cemented inside Northern hemisphere, bottom, serves as a flange on which other hemisphere rests.

Carefully packed, this artifact will ship for $29 domestic, $62 world wide.

$565 –  714FARQUA63


  1. Carol Greene Whitaker

    I have one of Bob Farquhar’s globes very similar to the one you’ve shown above. Bob was a cousin and I had the honor of visiting the shop where these were made somewhere around 1954. My brother has another globe but it is quite different from mine. I feel humbled to say I knew him.

    • Jake Moore

      Carol, Thats amazing! I’d love to see both you and your brother’s globes. Will you be keeping yours? Any other artifacts or ephemera from the Farquhar company?

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    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read something like this before. So nice to seek out anyone with some unique ideas on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is something that is wanted on the internet, somebody with a bit of originality. helpful job for bringing one thing new to the internet!


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      Thank you! Hope you continue to enjoy the website!

  3. Maria

    I have a gorgeous clear globe inposted on ebay. Can you help me with an estimate? I believe i may be asking to much. Thank you

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