For 19th-century schoolchildren, this colorful star chart would have brought astronomy brilliantly to life. Through vivid images, hidden flaps and sliders, and clever use of lighting effects, the chart was designed to help teachers illustrate Earth’s place in the universe.
The star chart was part of a kit, called Yaggy’s Geographical Study, produced for teachers in 1887 by Levi Walter Yaggy, an inventor-turned-publisher who held several map-related patents and owned a Chicago publishing house. Contained in a canvas-covered plywood box, the kit contained a variety of maps and charts depicting the world and its climatic zones and peoples. Each map is roughly 2 by 3 feet.
“You open it up like a box of treasures,” says Matthew Edney, a historian of cartography