Now I am not saying Saginaw has control over the universe, and the way the earth, sun, and moon travel thru space, but there are many school children who learned about the universe from the planetariums made by the Trippensee Planetarium Company in Saginaw.
Alexander Laing patented a solar system model in 1897 to show how the earth revolves around the sun and tilts on its axis for the change of seasons. Laing built the planetariums on Grand River Ave. in Detroit. In 1905, the three Trippensee brothers purchased Laing’s company and continued production of the Laing Planetarium. After making improvements to the original design replacing the strings and pulleys with chains and gears the brothers began producing the planetarium as the Trippensee Planetarium. In the late 20s or early 30s the company moved to Saginaw and continued to prosper eventually moving into the building at 301 Cass Street.
Over the years the company continued to improve on the design of the planetarium, producing one with an electric lamp in the sun and a motorized base to move the arm. They also made milky way models, celestial globes and acrylic globes of the earth. It was not uncommon the find a Trippensee planetarium at a school where it was used to teach children how the moon passed in front of the sun to create a solar eclipse.
The company was purchased by Science First in 1999 and they moved production to Buffalo New York. With today’s computers, I would imagine most teachers play a youtube video to show how the solar system works, but for many generations of children, myself included, I learned how the universe works with a Trippensee Planetarium.
P.S. An old planetarium was appraised on the Antique Roadshow on PBS, click HERE if you want to view the video.
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