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Saturday, January 5, 2019

An unusual machine age globe clock by Kermit Bishop

     I want to share with you an unusual find.   This is a small globe clock that I have acquired after several years of patiently waiting.    This unusual little device is a clock, with cartography by Kermit Bishop.  The mystery begins there as there are no manufacture markings of any kind on the globe, or base.  In 10 years of diligence I've seen a total of two examples of this clock,  this one and one other that sold on 1st dibs some years back.
Kermit Bishop globe clock?
     Now, this clock stands a little over  6 inches in height, with an approximately 5 inch globe.   The geography seems to point to a late 1930's creation, Iran instead of Persia, and Germany has extended it's boarders in Europe.  The butterscotch Bakelite base and aluminum stand also seem to lend credence to a pre war creation.
     The clock works by rotating a numbered band in relation to a stationary pointer,  the yellow 12 numbers for AM and the dark 12 numbers for PM,  or the reverse if you desire I suppose, but in any event one revolution per day.    You can adjust the globe and the pointer to align with whatever geography you want to display.  The band moves to tell time the globe is stationary.  
     So let me tell the story behind the acquisition of this little gem.   About 3 years ago this exact globe clock hit eBay.  I was immediately drawn to it, but my research could teach me little or nothing that the description did not cover.  The machine age design appealed to me.  A fellow collector also had this item in their sights, so sensing a needless rivalry I backed off, knowing that if later sold I would have first crack. 
     The auction ended with my friend as the winner,  then 3 years passed, I pestered this collector over the years not to buy but rather to allow me the chance to write about the object here.  They never sent any pictures so I never wrote about it.   Then a few months back the item comes up for sale and indeed I have a chance to own it.  
      What I love is that it might just bee the rarest silver ocean globe around.  It is rather stunning in person, retaining an almost metallic glow.  The Bakelite, and aluminum just add to the package , they just have the look, that antique modern look that came and went in the 1930's.  This item is in really nice shape, the globe and metal band show just the slightest nuance of wear.  The aluminum is a bit scuffed but I'm sure that's just a polish issue.  Marked on the bottom is a note from a clock repair stating that it was tuned and oiled in 1978.    The cord is probably replaced,  not a bad thing.  All in all probably an 8/10. certainly collection worthy.
      Now here's the mystery,   Kermit Bishop worked for the Ohio Art company at the time of this objects creation, but I can't find any reference to a clock being manufactured by that company.  Did Ohio Art make this clock?  Did another manufacturer make the clock and Ohio Art provide just the globe?  If anyone out there has some insight into this clock, I'd love to hear from you.  Or if you happen to also own one of these just drop me a line.
     As always lets discuss this or any other globe related topics in the comments section below!


Happy hunting........


Monday, November 19, 2018

A fresh peek at my own collection

     It's been nearly 5 years since I started blogging about the hobby of collecting globes.  As I look back I think about how.  I've changed as a collector, and how my collection has changed.  In this post I want to share some pictures of my globes in situ so to speak.  How I display things, how I control the environment etc.    I'm providing fresh up to date pictures of the day to day life of my personal collection.
     Most people that set foot in my home never even realize that I'm collecting anything.  I try to keep my collection separate from view and the rest of my active family.  I'm a realist, I've got 2 young kids, and with them comes friends and play dates, and casual drop ins that if my collection were dispersed through the house would pose too great a risk for breakage.   I reserve a space roughly 24 by 14 that is devoted to my various collections. Close one door and everything disappears.
       Within this space I control 3 atmospheric variables, heat, humidity, and light.   I generally keep things cool, dry and dark.  In a previous post I talked at length about protective window film. Within this room every window is covered with a film that blocks UVA and UVB rays.  even on the sunniest of days I find myself turning on a light to read  in this space.  The great thing about the film is that it is easily repaired, and resile reversed should I ever sell this home in the future.   Humidity is kept in a range from neutral to low, I never allow things to get humid.  Paper based objects and humidity never mix well.  As for temperature ,  well all I can say is bring a sweater!  Its 65-68 from September through May and in summer when I air condition it creeps all the way up to 71 or so.  I try for a very narrow temperature band.   I once visited the map room at the Library of Congress, it was a blistering 90+ degree July day in D.C.   however  the map room must've been about 62,  the librarian was in a turtleneck!
     The bulk of my collection resides in a space dominated by a great 1920's Eugene Dietzgen drafting table.  I love the wood and metal design, I think it compliments my globes nicely. My Andrews celestial globe rests confidently on a lovely Kalo typewriter table, another industrial relic from a bygone time in America.  Pay no mind to the three windows behind the globe display,  those have been blacked out with insulating panels that render them completely light omitting.  Again  this is an easily reversible modification.  The shades just hide the panels and you forget they are even there.  I have 25-30 globes at any given time, not a huge number, smaller than many think I own.  This is because lately I've been trying to slowly upgrade my collection, selling items acquired 5-10 years ago and replacing them with better examples as they become available.  My collection is currently split evenly between the 19th and 20th century, but as time goes on I can see this split favoring the older globes more and more.
      In another area of the space I have an antique display cabinet that houses a few of my smallest treasures, and next to it is a well preserved Joslin orb that serves as a focal point to the room.   I do out of habit keep this globe dust covered most of the time.  The quietest room in the house, I spend many an hour back here reading or working in relative solitude.
  One thing I currently do not have in my collection is a fairly large globe, in fact the largest orb I own is 16 inches.  I've come close more than once to adding a nice 18 inch orb but I'm space limited and I just have not found the one perfect addition in that size category yet.
     I've noticed this past year has been a rather slow one for new acquisitions.  I've had great luck adding to my collection of globe related books, catalogs and the like but I have purchased exactly one new globe.  Some years are like that I've noticed good things seem to come in waves.  The hunting happens daily but I wonder if I've become too picky.  I've actually sold more globes than I've purchased this past year, that's unusual.
     As always on this blog I welcome questions, comments, and discussion.  If you have something that you want to part with that is in nice original condition then please contact me. Im always in the hunt.
     
   

Friday, November 16, 2018

Summer 2018 0n the antiques trail, a retrospective part 1..

     To anyone who has been reading this blog for a while, knows I love hunting antiques the old fashioned way.  That is out on the open road.  This summer took me through New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and into Rhode Island.    A separate trip took me through Pennsylvania, and Ohio.   I probably spent 2 weeks on the road in towns large and small hunting for those elusive needles in the haystacks.
     Every year my travels take me through Ohio,  just west of Columbus on I-70 is one of the largest indoor antique venues in the country.  The Heart of Ohio Antiques center. is one of those mega malls that I have a love hate relationship with.  On one hand it's a huge venue, in this case it takes hours to cover properly.  On the other hand we all know that the dealers pick the hell out of places like this.  I don't blame them, I would too.  Also these malls must cater to the casual buyer, so 90%of everything is priced with the casual buyer in mind.  We dear readers are not casual buyers, we are superior, we are specialists, we've done the research, we've put in the time to know good from bad, etc...etc...etc...  So that said, I can't help myself, I have to stop, it's just too big. It also gives me a chance between other more specialized antiques shows to see what's going on, to get a broad feel for things in the antique world.  As for the globes to be found.  They fit 2 categories, overpriced, or tragic,  or god forbid both!  a couple pictures will show you what I mean.  I will remark that in an earlier post I did see an exceptional 1959 Tripppensee tellurian at this mall, but it was embarrassingly high priced.  So good things can show up, but you can't buy them...ha...



     Further south in Ohio, I love to visit a similar, but very different place in Cincinnati called Ohio Valley Antique mall.  This mall is Cincinnati's largest, and it seems that the dealer quality is a step above the other mall.  I NEVER miss this stop when I'm in the area.  I've never purchased a globe here but I never leave empty handed, in fact some of my biggest regrets came from this place and Items I'm kicking myself for not buying.  This handmade barber pole was calling my name , and for very short money, but for whatever reason I passed, it's such an authentic, real piece of America, how could I have let it go.......A lesson learned.  I'll share one more pic, every year around back to school they setup a " classroom" pulling antiques and vintage from around their complex, it always prominently features globes, I love it.
   
 Generally the second week of August every year in Upstate NY just south of Syracuse is a very nice outdoor show The Madison-Bouckville antiques week is what I like to refer to as Brimfield lite.  It is a setup that mimics it's larger cousin in that there are really a collection of show fields that open different days/ times.  I live 3 hours away from this show so it's just a convenient thing to do.  This show is 50% antiques 50% junk, and 50% other...... This is a show that will draw dealers from most of the neighboring states, so there are a lot of good things to see,  I prefer visiting late week on Thursday to beat the weekend crowd.   I saw a spectacular globe at this show this year and I'll share the picture.  A Weber Costello 18 inch floor globe, from about 1920.  It was in nice shape, and was all original, and was by far the nicest thing this particular dealer had on offer.    Once in a while a dealer will obtain an item that punches above their weight class, this is one of those times.   What do I mean by this, well if your a dealer who specializes in one thing or one price range and you find yourself with an item that is way out of your normal zone of operation then you are out of your element.  Two things generally happen, you under price your item and it's scooped up so fast your head spins.  If this happens to you once or twice as ca dealer, you will react by overpricing the next time you get a great item.  This was the case in Bouckville this summer.   I wanted this globe, I was excited to see it.  I almost fainted at the price,  you see the dealer had done some " research" and had arrived at a price that would make dealers on Madison Ave blush.  However we were not on Madison ave, we were in a cow pasture in Madison NY,   I can see how he might have been confused.   Anyhow I whipped out my phone and discovered 2 recent auction results for similar globes.  I showed them to him, but predictably faced with this truth that didn't fit his mental narrative he dug his heels in.   I left my card, and hope to hear back........no not really, this guy's going to loose money before he sells to me.... oh well it was/is a great globe.    The hunt continues.

     In part 2 of my summer recap we will go into New England, and visit some stand alone shops, as well as pay a visit to the legendary Brimfield show......more great globes to come....



Friday, October 26, 2018

A quick update post

Hello loyal readers, I've been neglecting my blog duties these past couple months. Let me apologize for that.  I've got a couple of nice posts in the works.
First I'm going to recap a great summer of antique hunting that took me to 8 different states

Second I'm going to write about a mystery object....a globe...a clock....?    Anyhow it's exciting and interesting

I'll be back soon...


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A few for th eBay hall of fame

OK,  now I'm on eBay looking for needles in haystacks everyday.  Lately I've noticed an uptick in listings that are so badly priced I just can't stand it.  So lets review a few



Ah.... one of my favorites the Frankenstein globe, you see up top we have a half way decent  early 20th century globe by Rand McNally, actually a very nice horizon band.  However it's paired to a completely wrong not original base. Hence my Frankenstein comment.  Oh and don't get me going on the price, could this seller possibly reached any further into outer space on that price?  












Here's another of my favorites, the only thing VERY RARE
( all caps) is the amount of chutzpah it took to actually call this thing rare, or dare to ask $400 for the privilege.  I do love the photos taken in the bathroom,  wow.......
















Now I looked at all the pictures this globe is actually pretty nice, It's got some age,  a nice patina, and it's from a respected maker. Pretty nice would be $250 or perhaps $300 on a good day .  $800  " SALE"  is the price in dreamland, not eBay......















I guess I'll never understand,  do people list crap all day on eBay thinking,  hummm.... a rich sucker is going to find this listing and buy it...??   No.... No they are not because suckers don't have $500  they are broke..  so why bother!!
   also just because something is old does not make it valuable,










    Well I've been on my soapbox for this post, education is power.  I hope people starting out in globes find this blog before they fall for an awful auction like my hall of shame up above.   I guess I'll never understand this sort of thing.  If I were going to spend $500 on something that I didn't know too much about I'd spend a little time researching things first.   Anyhow I want to say that I'm far from perfect,  I've been " had" so to speak but I hate to see anyone derailed in a hobby I enjoy so much because of the wild west that is eBay.

As always lets discuss, and don't hesitate to contact me if you've got something to sell, or just want to know more about I'm happy to help.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A conversation with George Glazer

     Recently I had a chance to have a " conversation " with George Glazer, an advanced globe collector specializing in American globes as well as a renound dealer in globes, and maps among other wonderful things.  Located in New York his website shares some of the best items he's known for, follow this link: George Glazer gallery: " an eye for the unusual "  George also offers an e-newsletter that can be subscribed to at that link, worthwhile in my opinion. Below, please find our interview. 


"I started collecting globes in the mid 1980s when I was a lawyer. My first major purchase was an early 19th Century English 18-inch floor globe by Bardin in about 1984.  I worked for W. Graham Arader, the map and print dealer, from 1988 to 1993. After working there I started my own gallery.  Our current location is 308 East 94th Street, on the Upper East Side in Manhattan." - George Glazer

1.  What attracted you to globes?  Many people collect maps but few seem to specialize in globes?

Originally my attraction to globes derived from my interest in antique English furniture and decorative arts. In particular English globes appealed to me visually.  They were of additional interest because of the cartography and in that they were also scientific instruments.

2. Do you focus on American globes?  If so why? 

Yes. I began to focus on American globes when I worked for W. Graham Arader.  In 1991, Arader bought many of the American globes at the Howard Welsh sale at Sotheby's New York.  I cataloged them and became very interested in them from a variety of perspectives.  It introduced me to James Wilson, America's first globe maker, and his goal of providing a less expensive alternative to English imported globes that also more accurately depicted the cartography of the United States. I also became interested in their use in geography education in schools in America in the 19th century. Another interesting aspect is that the stands of 19th Century American globes often followed decorative arts trends of the period differently than English and European globes. Finally, I was surprised that very little research and collecting of them had been done, so thought it would be a relatively new and open field for me.

3.  There's a fire at home you can grab one thing safely, what is it?

Concentric Terrestrial and Celestial Globe, Hugh Williamson/G.C. Wessmann, New York, 1867.  It is a terrestrial globe within a glass celestial sphere engraved with the constellations.
Concentric Terrestrial and Celestial globe
Williamson 1867


4. What item eludes you as a globe collector?

Any American globe that I have never seen any actual examples of before.

5. Are good globes getting harder to find? Does the internet help or hurt?

The internet has made them easier to find.  Still I have globes that I bought before the internet that I have not seen since. Mostly it just takes time for them eventually to turn up in the market.

6. What are your thoughts on restoration?

If a globe has damages, I generally have it restored. Of course, the globe has to be valuable enough to justify restoration. Also sometimes there are issues about whether a globe is best left in its “as found” state to preserve originality. In short, there are usually a lot of considerations in deciding which globe to restore and to what extent.

7. You are obviously an advanced collector, what advice can you offer to someone starting out?  Any advice for mid range collectors?

So much depends on each individual that it is hard to make a very general recommendation. If someone likes recent globes (c. 1930s to present) and they enjoy collecting them that is a great thing to do; they are relatively easy and inexpensive to get from dealers and auction. Someone else might want to form a collection of finer and rarer earlier globes, in which case it would be a good idea to establish a budget and do extra research in deciding what they like and can afford. Nonetheless, there is nothing like buying a few globes -- rather than just surveying the market -- to get a better idea of pricing, figuring out what you like, and to learn what you are doing from your good purchases as well as from any mistakes.

8. Anything I haven't asked that you'd like to touch on?

Just to encourage people to check my website, www.georgeglazer.com .  We offer a lot of globes for sale, and also have an archive of sold globes for research.

Friday, April 13, 2018

2 globe catalogs 1902 Rand McNally, and 1878 Schedler

     If your a regular reader of this blog you'll know that I'm always on the lookout for globe related items. Things like original handbooks, catalogs, and manuals being one of my favorites.   A couple of weeks ago I was able to add two exceptional pieces to my library.   Lets take a look and see what turned up.

1. First up Rand Mcnally globe manual and catalog of 1902:


This is a combination globe use manual ( 24 pages)  and a Catalog of globes for sale ( 36 pages) .  This catalog explains in great detail every globe in every variation that Rand McNally was producing in 1902.  That's only about 10 years after Rand McNally started making globes. They offered globes in 3 inch, 6, 8, 12, 18, 24, 30, and 36 inches in 1902.
     Now I thumb through this catalog and It occurs to me Rand McNally globes from the turn of the 20th century are not necessarily rare, but they are becoming uncommon. How uncommon is a 116 year old catalog from the company?  As I read through this catalog It was surprising to see the depth and breadth of globes offered.  It also made clear that some of the least expensive globes that they made survive today in the greatest numbers.  They actually offered a category of "cheap globes"  could you imagine a manufacturer today referring to part of their product line as cheap?  
      Something else I discovered reading this catalog is that by 1902 the 3 inch globe was being offered only with a wooden base, they had discontinued the lotus leaf base and the well known glass magnifier base, thus those globes with those bases all pre date 1902.   This is just one of the tid bits in the catalog. A fascinating look at the marketing of globes from over a hundred years ago.
   

2. Schedler 1878 globe catalog:

     Next up I'm going even older,  The Schedler company of New Jersey and NY started producing globes in the 1860's and they continued until about the turn of the 20th century.  Yours truly does not own a Schedler globe..........yet......Not for lack of opportunity, I've had several chances but the pieces have not lined up quite right, usually a combination of price, or condition or timing has prevented me.     Anyhow if I can't have a Schedler globe just yet the catalog will have to do.  Now this is not necessarily a catalog in the traditional sense.

     The book I'm going to share with you today is titled "  Steiger's Educational Directory 1878"  Well what a title, I'll boil it down, it's essentially a directory of schools located in the United States, Germany, Austria, and " British Dominions" .  This information takes up  100 pages,  the next 215 pages are a catalog of the E. Steiger company's offerings for sale.  Inside this portion of the book, a full 18 pages are devoted to the globes, and related planetaria of the Schedler company.  It is these 18 pages that I was after when I bought this book.


     Here are just a few samples from this odd ball of a book.  It's interesting that in the preface the E. Steiger company mentions that this will be an annual publication but it must have been unsuccessful because the 1878 edition is the first and last known to have been printed.  It's really beautifully bound with an embossed cover, and guilt lettering.  It's also a large book almost 8x11 inches.  E. Steiger was a German immigrant who owned a school supply business, and publishing company, and Schedler was also a German immigrant who owned a globe making business.  I've never seen Schedler globes offered from a source not connected to the E. Steiger company quite an interesting and I'm sure typical arrangement for the time.

     I'm always struck by the ornate design that Schedler  offered with the mounting of their globes.  Their globe mountings were incredible works of art in and of themselves.  A proper Schedler globe is certainly high on my list as far as collecting goes.

     I share a lot of globe related printed material on this blog.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, I get that. I just love the history of these objects. How were they marketed, to whom, for how much?  I'm a researcher at heart.  I spend hours researching globes and related items, usually that involves the use of a computer.  It's nice when a primary source is available.


Happy hunting........because true collectors know it's all in the hunt!!


   


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Trippensee tellurion/ planetarium : A collectors guide

     Why do people love tellurions....?   Well for me it's a mechanical sculpture.  Add in a dose of history, and suddenly it's a 100 plus year old  apparatus that still works, and could if desired go right back into a classroom tomorrow.   If an antique globe is holding history, then an antique tellurion is history in motion!    
     When I wrote about planetariums and tellurions back in 2014, it quickly became and still is one of my most viewed posts.  This is telling me that there is a lot of interest in the collector market surrounding them.   It is with this in mind that I write this post as a bit of market analysis, as well as a rough guide for collectors looking to acquire one.
     I keep mentioning Trippensee because they are 90 plus percent what your going to find available in the market place.   That is not to say they were alone, there were earlier devices and some competitors over the years but they dominated.  Hence my concentration.
A pre 1908 Laing/ Trippensee
in exceptional condition
     The oldest Trippensee Planetariums are actually  re-branded Laing devices. They are characterized by string pulley systems and wooden gears. Rare and expensive they are seldom seen and usually need professional attention to be functional, they all sport the same Rand McNally 1891 globe as later models.

      The oldest planetariums of Frank Trippensee's design came in 1908 and they feature the maple construction, brass, and chain drives as is seen in the picture at the top of this page, they were manufactured roughly from 1908-1925. The later maple planetariums of the 1920's had oval name plates with serial numbers stamped on.
   
Planetarium from 1925-1940
 Around 1925 and continuing until 1940 or so Trippensee planetariums were still made of wood, but now the wood was painted black, they also had oval name plates with serial numbers.  The 4th and really final iteration of The Trippensee design is the switch to Bakelite and plastic, gone are the brass, and wood of older designs in favor of newer materials, these designs are technically still made today, they are date stamped under the weighted base.
     So what should a collector consider if they want to add a planetarium to their collection.   I'll be upfront and tell you that I've been researching these devices for quite a while but I've only managed to acquire one example.    With that admission I do think I can offer some advice when it comes to finding, buying, and restoring these devices.

look for no missing parts and
an intact globe
1.  Condition is everything,  it is far more desirable to buy a tellurion in working condition than to buy one in a state of disrepair. The price difference between a tellurion in excellent condition and one in fair condition is dramatic. As much as 50-70% less if missing parts or not working!  Pay special attention to the globe, and the sun.  It is far more desirable to have an intact globe and a brass sun without dents.   That said, these are fairly simple and straightforward, all the works is exposed so troubleshooting is not impossible.  Now, a piece of missing chain....? OK that's a straightforward fix.  However if the tellurion you are considering purchasing is missing parts other than the chain I would stay away, they are just too costly to fix, and finding replacement parts is next to impossible.


2. Age, these things have been made for 120 years,  obviously the newer the tellurion the less expensive it will be to acquire.  Excellent examples from Laing, are most valuable, then very early Trippensee planetariums.  Far less valuable are the Bakelite and plastic models of the 1950's,  even less valuable are the electrified versions of the mid 1960's.  The black painted wooden planetariums certainly command more than the Bakelite ones but always seem to sell at a discount to the maple wood planetariums,  on the order of 20-40% less.

     So lets get down to it, what will it cost to add a nice early Trippensee planetarium to your collection ?  I've been researching these for years and the market is wide ranging for example the high water mark was achieved at Sotheby's NY this past December  They sold a near identical Tellurion to mine for $6800 including buyers premium,  an outlier of a price to be sure.  More down to earth  In 2016 Brunk Auctions of Asheville NC  sold an early Trippensee for $2800.   Also in December in NY  Bonhams  sold an early tellurion for only $685,  it was missing the compass and the name plate on the arm,  this shows how missing parts just destroy the value!  Incidentally I paid $2750 for my example, I think I did OK, I plan on keeping it for a long time.
Mid century tellurion, look for a
complete and functional model

     So I know what your thinking,  I don't need a really early tellurion I'd  be just as happy with a later model.  Well lately those have been landing anywhere from $500- $900 depending on condition.  I can't recommend buying a mid century tellurion unless it's in quite nice shape and completely working.  don't spend money on a project piece at this level.

     Now finding a tellurion for sale takes some time.  I can recommend starting you search with  Murray Hudson antique Maps, Prints, and Globes  He usually has a nice example Trippensee in stock and available for purchase.  Also you can try George Glazer Gallery  He oftentimes will have a nice tellurion in stock for sale as well.  After that they do turn up on eBay from time to time, as well as at large and small auction houses alike.   The difference will be a dealer will stand behind the sale 100%, whereas an auction house is always buyer beware.



***The Laing photo at the top of the page, and the 1925-40 photo are with thanks to Murray Hudson, the last photo in this post is with thanks to Dee from Upstarts***

****As always pleases don't hesitate to comment, or reach out I encourage dialogue, and if you're in the selling mood  leave a comment or send an email I'd love to hear from you ****

Monday, March 12, 2018

Trippensee Planetarium, an in depth look

     Trippensee planetariums are an object that demonstrate cross collectability perfectly.  Globe collectors love them, general scientific instrument collectors love them, and astronomy collectors also covet them. That is not to mention that their mechanics and clockwork like design also appeal on a sculptural/ steam punk level. Because of this,  prices for good examples of these planetariums have seen a steady rise. In fact dare I say they are the strongest segment of the globe/ instrument market.
     I've been in that market for several years trying to obtain a great example.  I've been constantly chasing higher and higher auction prices in pursuit of one, always falling short. Any regular reader of this blog will know that I'm allergic to overpaying.  I'm sure in a rising market this has been my main stumbling block.   Well just a short time ago I was finally able to obtain an example of a Trippensee Planetarium, and dare I say it's quite a nice one,  lets explore.....
Trippensee planetarium c 1908-1920


     I have here a 1st generation Trippensee Planetarium.  This is characterized by the maple wood construction, later examples are made with black painted wood, still later Bakelite and plastic. This one is early. The maple construction dates this Planetarium from 1908-1925.   It's near impossible to pin down the date more specifically because the construction stayed the same for many years. Even the globe was used for many years without geography updates. You see geography was not important on these devices, so why pay the expense of updating the globe.
     So let's examine the fine points of this Planetarium.  This example is all original, no replacement parts, and no restoration.  The small Globe ( by Rand McNally) is the most delicate and therefore usually the first piece to show heavy wear. Here we see that the globe remains bright, legible and near completely intact.
 The next area of concern for these planetariums is the brass sun, they do dent fairly easily, and the brass wears away sometimes. Here again dents have been avoided and the brass finish, though not perfect does retain its luster.   All of the gears are intact with proper chains. The compass built into the arm is of course present and functional.  This example functions smoothly and correctly, in fact my son and I played with it quite extensively and it is a robust mechanism. I see why these have survived in such numbers even 100 years later.
     I would be hard pressed to find a better example.  It was especially important for me to find one with an intact and clean globe.   I did not find this one inclusive of the original wooden crate,  a precious few still boast this. Trippensee Planetariums can be broadly placed into 4 age categories each with its fine points to consider as well as price differences.
Trippensee patent drawing 1908
     The oldest Trippensee Planetariums are actually just re branded Laing devices. They are characterized by string pulley systems and wooden gears. Rare and expensive they are seldom seen and usually need professional attention to be functional, they all sport the same Rand McNally globe as  these later models.  The oldest planetariums of Frank Trippensee's design came in 1908 and they feature the maple construction, brass, and chain drives as is seen in the picture at the top of this page, they were manufactured roughly from 1908-1925. The later maple planetariums of the 1920's had oval name plates with serial numbers stamped on.
     Around 1925 and continuing until 1940 or so Trippensee planetariums were still made of wood, but now the wood was painted black, they also had oval name plates with serial numbers.   I have been trying to purchase one of these for a while and I decided some time ago that when I did purchase one of these devices I wanted it to be one of the earlier versions.  Nothing against the Bakelite and plastic planetariums of the 1950's these older examples just appeal to me more. I'm clearly a sucker for the brass, wood , and paper combination.  it just screams I'm old I'm from a different time, and I love that.
2 versions of the same 3 inch globe
     A while back I wrote a blog post titled, " sometimes it's OK to overpay"  well this in my mind is one of those times.   Every year that clicks by these devices become harder and harder to find.  It was with this in mind that i decided the time to move was now.   Also when you love something it's OK to pay up to obtain such a thing.
     I wouldn't be a globe blogger if I didn't take time to explain more about the globe used on these planetariums.  It is a copyright 1891 Rand McNally 3 inch orb.  Rand McNally produced this globe as the smallest in their line and fastened it to a multitude of different bases.  It's no surprise then when Laing/ Trippensee needed a small globe for their tellurion they went to Rand McNally.  This globe with it's 1891 geography was used into the 1930's on these tellurions, earning a far longer life than would have otherwise been warranted. To the right is a picture of my Rand McNally 3 inch next to the tellurion globe. Both cartouches are in the shape of a shield, one reads Rand McNally, the other Trippensee, but they are otherwise identical.
     in closing while researching I stumbled onto something intriguing, a patent from Frank Trippensee dated 1909 for a different model tellurion.  An expanded device that added a second horizontal arm and then attached a Mars globe at it's end.  You can read the complete patent documents here: Trippensee mystery planitarium   I can't find any record of this device actually being manufactured ..............what might have been........
Trippensee patent  for expanded Mars tellurion, 1909

***** Update!!    In certain areas of collecting there are levels of completeness, for example in book collecting having the dust jacket of a book that was originally issued with one is much better than not having it.  Well with completeness in mind  I started searching for the original manual that would have accompanied this device.   Now over the years so many of these planetariums got separated from the original instruction manual. Remembering that these were used as instructional aids in schools.  The original manual is a rare sighting, now they do pop up from time to time.   As luck would have it I stumbled into a copy using a search technique that I've used in the past.  Once in a while you can score a great find looking on eBay for misspellings and  mis-categorized listings. That was the case here a slight misspelling and a not ideal category choice let this handbook slip through the cracks so to speak!
Trippensee instruction guide
note the date stamp, bottom
of title page
     This instruction manual was copyrighted in 1908 by Howard Hovey, it was included with each planetarium sold and was unchanged until the early 1940's when the device changed to Bakelite and plastic construction.  Interesting to note, on the title page inside the cover the Trippensee company dated the manual and I believe it was changed each year this date looks to be separately stamped in so if you have the original manual with your planetarium then looking at this title page should give you the exact year of manufacture.  
Profusely illustrated,
but a very dry read.
      Now having an original booklet really elevates this item because the vast majority of these planetariums do not have the book available.   This is true of vintage globes in general each of them originally came with a handbook, Joslin, and Andrews produced hard cover books, most manufactures produced soft cover booklets . Certainly having the original handbook just adds to the total package. In the case of the Trippensee tellurion it adds guidance as to how to actually use the thing intelligently, a wonderful find.


   


   
   

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Just a quick update

     Well i've been absent from the blog for a couple of months.   However that is about to change, look for some interesting new posts just around the corner.   Buying has been sporadic as of late but research is ongoing.  Remember collecting is 10% buying and 90% learning ( perhaps I'm too generous on the buy side)
     Coming up I'm going to review some very interesting auction results, as well as I'm going to share a very special addition to my collection.     Until then  happy hunting.......