Monday, November 23, 2015

The Geographic Educator company what happened

     The Geographic educator company was an interesting contributor to the marketplace for globes and globe related teaching instruments.  A flash in the pan, this company based on Long Island NY lasted about 3 years before folding presumably under the weight of the great depression. However in that short time they produced a couple of very interesting toys/ learning tools of a geographic nature that are highly sought after by globe collectors today.
     By far this company is known in the globe collecting world as the producer of the Geographic Educator Puzzle globe. A wonderful cross sectioned terrestrial globe that separates to reveal continents and further still, countries arranged as individual puzzles.

Although active for only a few years these globes are readily available for sale, usually showing up on eBay and through dealer web sites on a regular basis. Easy to find yes, but the challenge becomes finding an intact example. So often these globes are found with pieces of the puzzle missing, or other damage to the outside gores due to it's repeated assembly and dis assembly over the years.   This example shown here is better than average of what you will find when shopping for this particular globe.
The globe disassembled, into each continent
     The Geographic educator company was not necessarily a one trick pony, they did make at least one more learning apparatus. Called Block-o-Graphy, it was a rather ingenious puzzle, that took advantage of all sides of a building block  to make 6 different puzzles each showing one continent, clever almost a disassembled Rubik's cube.
Block-o-Graphy in original box, a rare find

So with two unique products to offer what happened to this company?  Were they victims of the depression? Was their core product too expensive to produce? Too expensive period? At $7.50 ( in 1927)  this was quite a luxury to be able to afford one of these for your child.    Was Block-o-Graphy added late in the company's short existence as a "last gasp" attempt to salvage things? Does this explain the relative scarcity of the puzzle as compared to the globe?  
Patent drawing for puzzle globe
The Geographic Educator Company also made a traditional globe also of a 6 inch diameter, utilizing the same map as on their puzzle globe and mounted to a pasteboard and plaster orb. Below is a picture of the exceedingly scarce solid globe version of their 6 inch sphere.  This solid version is on eBay right now : Geographic educator solid globe (May 29 2016)
      If you are considering adding a puzzle globe or a Block-O-Graphy set to your collection, keep in mind completeness. Don't even bother with a Block-O-Graphy with any missing pieces, it's not worth your time. As for the educator globe, they are difficult to find complete, is one missing piece a deal breaker......? Well that depends  defiantly it is important to find one with globe gores mostly or completely intact because after all it will be displayed most likely in it's assembled state.  Just my 2 cents anyhow!
Geographic Educator solid globe

     I have included the patent drawing for the globe above and an original ad below  I should mention the inventor is a man named Charles B. Roberts, presumably he is also the man behind the company I have tried to learn about this person, but little else seems to be available concerning him or his interesting contribution to geographic studies in this country.
An original ad for the Geographic educator globe

As always lets discuss, if you know something about this company or these globes I'd love to hear about it , drop me a line or leave a comment below,  happy hunting........

***All photos in this post are courtesy of Omniterrum, thank you***

Update April 25th 2016:     This intrepid collector was just recently able to acquire a very nice example of the Geographic Educator globe, here are a couple of pictures and a few thoughts.

I took a picture of the globe and my phone for size reference, one thing I never could quite grasp is that this globe is rather small.  Barely over 10 inches tall, and just 6 inches diameter the educator was small, and let me tell ya, I know why so many globes have missing pieces. They are very small puzzle pieces, and much like Lego's could easily be lost by a child.  I also made note of the fact that this globe was produced with two different styles of base. A simple 3 legged bent metal base, as seen here and in the patent drawing above. As well as a more elaborate tripod base as shown in the pictures above from another example.  With a production run of only about two years, I can't help wonder why they went to the trouble of changing the base?  It seems clear that they started out using the simplified base, then switched to the more elaborate base later on.  Nothing else about the globe is different. Another thing to note about the globe is how well made it is. It is substantially heavier than you would expect. The globe is made of some sort of very dense plastic, almost ceramic like. the puzzle pieces are also of this very dense material.  A lot of design and cost went into making this little gem, it's a shame that it didn't take off.

Monday, November 16, 2015

J Chein tin globe lucky find

     I want to share an exciting find I made recently.  Not too long ago I started exploring the world of tin globes and globe toys.  The research I did for that article inspired me to start the hunt for an exceptional tin globe to add to my collection. I settled on trying to find a great example of a J Chein globe. To me this globe blends perfectly the narrative of a functional toy, or an inexpensive way to give a child a globe.  As luck would have it I stumbled upon and was able to purchase this fine example:

     This is a near mint 1928 or 1929 J Chein tin globe. Charles Lindbergh's May 1927 flight is prominently laid out, and Central Australia is in existence on the map.  Iran is also still Persia.  The orb itself is about 5 inches diameter, and it sports an accurate graduated half meridian. It is also displayed here in the brown finish base instead of the more common yellow finish.  A remarkable little globe that probably would have retailed 85 years ago for no more than a couple of dollars. Certainly a great way to introduce geography to a child.  Is it a toy or a globe.......?  Well in my mind it's a bit of both. A cross collectible for sure.  A direct competitor at the lower end of Weber Costello, Rand McNally, and Replogle globes.  In fact this and other inexpensive tin globes put the traditional globe makers on a little bit of a defensive path with each rushing to market with even more affordable globes of their own.  This globe with it's simplified yet very accurate geography was good enough to be a teaching tool, and it's size was perfect for at school or at home use. J Chein produced this globe in varying formats until the late 1960's at least.
      I discovered this gem in an auction filled with many vintage tin toys, so it's previous owner was obviously a toy collector.  Now it's at home in a globe collection.   I am probably not going to seek many more tin globes out. It's not necessarily " my thing" but I also think that any representative collection of American globe making needs one or two good examples .  
     I purchased this globe at a Morphy auction in Las Vegas. I had never bid on an item with Morphy but they are part of a new breed of quasi traditional yet heavily Internet integrated auction houses that I want to discuss in a separate post; there is a whole different tact one must take to be successful bidding and buying at these type of auctions.  A much less straightforward process, and a process defiantly designed to spark " auction fever" a disease I've had in the past.......
     So......What could have knocked this little globe out of the park.............well what if this globe were still in it's original box.....? That would elevate this little gem from great to extraordinary!

Oh here's the box........
how rare is that!!    

     This globe came my way after not having purchased anything globe related in over 6 months. Not for a lack of trying.  There have been several great globes come and go that, as a collector  I have tried to add to my collection but for a variety of reasons just could not close a deal.  Finding this little gem was an exercise in networking, educating myself, and casting a wide net in my search.   Not the "find of a lifetime" but for what its is a great little score.
     I'm always fascinated by the search for globes and globe related items I probably spend far more time searching than a lot of collectors, but I LOVE it!!  
     With that said if you have an old globe in great condition especially Andrews, Holbrook, Weber Costello, or Joslin, I want to hear from you.  I am interested in globes from these manufactures and would love it if you contacted me if you have a globe for sale! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

"Peerless" globe brand or marketing moniker?

     Anyone who has ever been even a moderately engaged globe hunter has run across a "Peerless" globe.  Weber Costello used the term extensively through the late 1950's at least; but it has also shown up on globes from other sources as well. More uncommonly was the use of the term/ brand Peerless on globes from before WWI.   Is Peerless exclusive to the Andrews/ CF Weber/ Weber Costello manufactured globes?  Is it a G. W. Bacon brand of gore?  What is the link  if any?  Is it simply a marketing ploy, a way to distinguish?
     Below I want to explore a few examples of the Peerless name as it has appeared on globes over the years.

 On the left an Andrews globe with Bacon gores, On the right a Bacon gored C. W. Bardy globe labeled "Peerless"  The cartography is the same, having originated from the same mapmaker, but sold to two different globe retailers.  Andrews most probably made both globes, but why does one get a Peerless label and the other does not?  Both of these globes date from the last quarter of the 19th century, some of the oldest globes to show the Peerless designation.
     Next up I want to explore some slightly newer globes both labeled Peerless.
   This first cartouche to the left is an Atlas school supply over label of a Weber Costello globe, notice it has earned the Peerless designation. On the right is a straight away Weber Costello globe this time a six inch basic children's model that has also earned the label Peerless.  I've chosen both of these examples because both of these globes were produced in 1909  and both were made for the school market.  Is Peerless a designation that was made to designate a school globe from a globe produced for the home?   Is that the case with the Andrews globes above as well? Was one made for home and received Andrews standard label the other for school and thus received the Peerless designation?
     Finally I want to show one more Peerless globe a classic black oceans Weber Costello with the designation Peerless.  This is by far the most common encounter of the name Peerless that one is going to have these are abundantly available. Also these globes being basic models were primarily marketed to students.
      One more observation, did Peerless start as a way to delineate between the school/ student market and the home market?  Did that distinction blur into the 1930's and later as many Airplane base globes destined for the home market also carry the peerless designation.

OK some questions to think about:

1. Is "Peerless" strictly an Andrews/ C.F. Weber/ Weber Costello brand?

2. Was "Peerless" a part of Weber's school marketing?

3. Did this designation change or blur over time?

3. Did Peerless originate away from  Andrews/ Weber ?  Or was it an Andrews invention?

     I've set this post up a bit differently. If someone knows the answer to any of these questions I'd love to hear from you.  I'm eager to get to the bottom of this. Additionally, perhaps I have not asked the right questions then please by all means chime in lets discuss!!

**photo credits Andrews, CW Bardy, an anonymous collector, both 1909 Peerless photos, Murray Hudson, 1950's Weber  yours truly**