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A tellurion made in 1766 by Benjamin Martin, an English lecturer, lexicographer, and maker of scientific instruments[n 1]

From Latin tellūs (earth, ground; the globe, planet Earth; country, land) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *telh₂- (to bear, carry; to endure, undergo) +‎ -ion (a Latinate suffix used in place of -ian (suffix meaning ‘one from, belonging to, relating to, or like’)), possibly coined by Benjamin Martin (baptized 1705; died 1782), an English lecturer, lexicographer, and maker of scientific instruments: see the quotation.[1]



tellurion (plural tellurions)

  1. (astronomy, historical) An instrument used to show how the rotation of the Earth on its axis and its orbit around the Sun cause day and night and the seasons.
    • 1771, Benjamin Martin, “Of the Tellurian”, in The Description and Use of an Orrery of a New Construction, Representing in the Various Parts of Its Machinery All the Motions and Phoenomena of the Planetary System; [], London: Printed for, and sold by the author, [], OCLC 1051529453, page 4:
      The Second Part of this Orrery I call a Tellurian, [...] becauſe it ſhews moſt accurately and evidently all the Phœnomena ariſing from the Annual and Diurnal Motions of the Earth, in a Terreſtrial Globe full Three Inches in a Diameter; upon which all the Parts of the terraqueous Surface are diſtinctly delineated, [...]
    • 1823, Edward Nares, “A View of the State of Arts, Sciences, Religion, Laws, Government, &c.”, in [Alexander Fraser Tytler]; Thomas Robbins, Tytler’s Elements of General History, Ancient and Modern. [] To which is now Added, A View of the State of Arts, Sciences, Religion, Laws, Government, &c. by the Rev. Edward Nares, D.D. [], Hartford, Conn.: Published by Huntington & Hopkins, OCLC 950941156, page 381:
      Among the modern inventions appertaining to astronomy, besides the instruments necessary to correct observation, we may reckon those curious and elegant machines, exhibiting the motions and phenomena of our solar system and its several parts; our orreries, planetariums, tellurians, lunariums, &c., all of which may be considered as extremely interesting and ingenious contrivances.

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