Monday, September 22, 2014

The globe that put Rand McNally on the map

     Rand McNally one of the great Chicago globe makers did not start out making globes, they first made maps and they entered globe production in the 1880's. Here I want to show an example of their landmark 1891 globe. This is a 12 inch Terrestrial globe copyright 1891 right on the globe, North and South Dakota are divided, Austria- Hungarian Monarchy in Europe, Puerto Rico not labeled as U.S. this globe is important for Rand McNally's use of isothermal lines ( lines of equal temperature), that would become a standard after this globe. I own this globe with a metal schoolroom mount, but this globe was available in many configurations, wood base, metal, full mount, and others. It was a popular globe. Also manufactured in 6, 8, and 12 inch sizes, nice examples do become available from time to time. In fact if you are looking for a globe from the 1890's these are probably more affordable than many other globes of the time period from other makers.
Rand McNally 1891 isothermal globe
notice the copperized metal base

Close up of cartouche and isothermal lines
     This example sits in wonderful preservation, not perfect, it would be hard to find one in nicer shape, the base is noteworthy because of how much original finish remains, often this is worn and missing.  Notice the finial in the first two pictures, there is some space between the finial and globe, this is by design, every offset mount of this globe has that space.  I believe that this globe would have been a schoolroom model, probably also available in the regular market, but the metal base is rugged, more apt to handle the daily abuses of the school.  The orb is very nice, not perfect, there are imperfections of manufacture, some minor scuffs, and minor soiling, no dents, or cracks are present, and of course no missing map surface.  Overall a nice presentation, a simple globe that I often overlook when I am showing off my collection to a friend or family member, I am learning to appreciate this globe more as I learn more about it and the company that made it.
     This globe has been reproduced with the consent of Rand McNally by British globe makers Greaves and Thomas. I want to provide the link here: 1891 Isothermal globe reproduction   this site also goes into great detail regarding the world of 1891, and why this important globe was remade. I encourage you to click on the link and read, it's fascinating.
     This was not Rand McNally's first globe, but it was their first huge commercial success, this model and it's many variants set the path for decades to come of successful globe making. Rand McNally outlasted most other Chicago globe makers, although not producing globes the company remains in the map business today.
     In many ways this is a great companion piece to my 1892 Rand McNally 6 inch student globe, I could see in some luckier school houses a teacher with this model, and students sharing the smaller model at their desks as a lesson in geography was presented.
     I want to point out a contrast this globe has with another globe in my collection , I have a Joslin globe of similar vintage but these two globes could not be any more different, the Joslin in look and feel has much more in common with globes of 100 years earlier, the colors, mounting, and construction are similar. Now looking at this globe of 1891 it does not look dissimilar to globes produced in the 1930's. That's because this globe really shows a departure from how, and for whom globes were made. In a way globes from here on became more utilitarian, less ornate, function over form.  This also brought the price down dramatically opening up a much larger market for globes. This model would have sold for between $7.50 to $10.00  in the 1890's  much more affordable than Joslin's $25- $50.  Mass production, lower prices,  quicker shipping. Sound familiar? The same market forces that spell success or failure today were working 120 years ago.

As always lets discuss!!

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