Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680) kept one of the most famous and ambitious chambers of wonders at the Collegium Romanum, with exhibits selected to appeal to all senses. It is as yet unclear whether this installation (to use an anachronistic term) of globes was created in the course of Kirchers research on magnetism. But the details given are very precise: the glass spheres contain wax figurines with magnetic cores, which can be influenced by a large magnet located in the base of the obelisk. The obelisk can be rotated by means of a crank, making the figurines point at letters or astrological and other symbols on the globes. The inscription at the top is the hermetic axiom "nature takes pleasure in nature".
Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680), Magnetisches Orakel (magnetic oracle), Buchdruck; Quelle: Ders., Magnes, sive de Arte Magnetica …, Köln 1643, Folio 327; Digitalisat: © Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/218-25-quod-1/start.htm, http://diglib.hab.de/drucke/218-25-quod-1/start.htm?image=00406, Creative Commons-Lizenz Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland.