Worldwide Planetariums Database


Prototype Lewis

Official Website

From 1935 to 1936
Number of copies: 1

History: Built by H. Spencer Lewis for the Rosicrucian Planetarium in San Jose, CA, during the fall and winter months of 1935-36.
This instrument was constructed around a large spun-brass ball that had a collar on the bottom large enough to fit over a round, opal-glass globe such as was used in old-fashioned street lightoliers. A standard 150 watt clear glass lamp was the light source.
A cluster of brass optical tubes projected from the brass ball. These tubes were mathematically spread out so that when the instrument was in use, the starr patterns were projected over the entire dome.
The instrument was centrally located in the auditorium, a forty-foot dome of acoustical plaster. There was seating capacity for one-hundred. The lecturer's console was positioned in the North, and an adjacent room was equipped for a technical assistant. It took two people to present the hour long lecture, and on more than one occasion a lecturer would have the embarrasing experience of a technician literally asleep at the switches.
In the pre-Sputnik' days of the early nineteen-fifties, a decision was made to increase the operational effeciency of the planetarium, and to expand the number of science exhibits. A twenty-foot dome was erected inside the original forty-foot structure, and the resulting free space turned over to exhibits. A Spitz A-l, requiring just one operator, replaced the original.

List of planetariums using this projector


              ©2023 WPD