Solar System Sampler
In the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, girls in the UK and the US used needle and thread to embroider images and text onto pieces of fabric that were called “samplers.” Samplers, which could be quite intricate, were meant to promote basic literacy and to teach patience and carefulness.
Unlike many samplers, which featured botanical, Biblical, or domestic themes, this unusual pre-printed fabric from 1811 depicts a surprisingly scientific subject: the arrangement of the solar system. (via Slate)
The Great Comet of 1811, formally designated C/1811 F1, is a comet that was visible to the naked eye for around 260 days, a record it held until the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. In October 1811, at its brightest, it displayed an apparent magnitude of 0, with an easily visible coma. (via Wikipedia,)
I’m with you on the science embroidery obsession, Radiolab.
The passage at the top of the (unfinished) embroidery is the most interesting part. It’s from Milton’s Paradise Lost, and reminds us that there was once a time when scientific education had to be framed in the light of morality and “thy Glorious Works”, as it’s put above. ‘Twas a different time, eh?