Nova III and the Nova 100
 Developed in 1962 by Albert Faulkner
The pictures (Below) are of Engineer Albert Faulkner, Designer of the Nova III and Nova 100.  Albert was the Head Technician for the Fels Planetarium in the mid 1940's at the Franklin Institute.  Albert then worked with Armand Spitz in the early days of Spitz Labs designing auxiliary projectors for the Model A.  In the late 1950's he then moved to Edmond Scientific where he designed several popular astronomy items sold by the company.  In 1961 he was hired by Tom Liversidge the owner of Harmonic Reed to develop the Nova planetarium.

Al Faulkner working on the Fels Planetarium Zeiss projector (left).    Al with prototype Nova III (right).

My Nova III Machine


The Nova III machine was a marvel for its time. It had all the functions of much larger planetariums at only a fraction of the cost, around $2000.00 in 1962!

Features included:

  • Milky way
  • All solar system bodies out to Saturn
  • Ecliptic
  • Equator
  • Meridian
  • Geocentric Earth
  • Daylight
  • Satellite projectors
 Later versions of the Nova III included fully automated machines that would do a complete show with a touch of a button!  One could say the Nova III was a thorn in the side of some other planetarium companies of that time, Nova produced a planetarium that had many features of larger more expensive machines and sold for a fraction of the cost! Some 300 of these machines were made.  The Nova III was marketed for college's and high school levels. It was available with either a 14ft or 20ft dome. Many are still in use today.

Nova 100

                                                              An early proto-type
                                                                            Photo by Albert Faulkner

                                                         Picture of my Nova 100

The Nova 100 was designed to sell for around $600.00 and was meant for grade school level astronomy classes. 

Features included: 

  • Projection of 500 Stars
  • Moon
  • Sun
  • One Inferior Planet and one Superior Planet
  • Equator
  • Ecliptic
  • Meridian projectors
  • Satellite
  • Geocentric Earth projectors
The machine has daily motion as well as annual motion, all motions ran from one motor and an elaborate clutch system.  The Nova 100 was never put into production because it was to complicated mechanically. Only three proto-types were made.

Inside the Nova 100


 The Two Homes of Nova Planetariums
Pictured below are the two Harmonic Reed plants.  The (top picture) is where the Spitz Jr. and the Nova III where developed.  This building is located in Rosemont, PA.  In 1964 Harmonic Reed then moved to its new location (Botom picture) at Union Hill in Conshohocken, PA. where the Nova 100 was developed.


Back to Main Page