Sunday, April 28, 2019

Globe mounting styles explained

     I've had a couple questions lately that got me thinking about the terms used to describe globes and one area I think could use some clarity is that of globe mounting styles.
     A globe mount is simply how a globe is attached to a base so that it can spin.  If you boil it down there are really 3 types of globe mounts.   1. Offset, or simple mount  2. Meridian mount,  3. Full mount.  I want to explain in words and pictures examples of each, so let's get started.

Offset, or simple mount
1.  Offset or simple mounted globe:   This is a globe that is affixed to a base either upright or canted at 23.5 degrees with no metal ring surrounding it( meridian ring) and no horizon band .  It is a stand and a globe.  It was popular for inexpensive school globes because they were the least costly to produce as well as the least expensive to purchase.  After WW2 they started a steady decline in popularity.  Here are a few examples.

1/2 meridian
full meridian
  2.  Meridian mounted globe:   This style globe is very popular today,  but it's been manufactured for a couple hundred years in the US .   This is a globe mounted on a base with either a full meridian or 1/2 meridian usually made of metal and usually with graduations in degrees marked out.    Most new globes sold today have at least a 1/2 meridian .   Many full meridian globes, also rest in a metal cradle or fork that holds the globe and allows it to be adjusted to any position and then secured via a "set" screw, here are some examples of this style

Full mount globe
3. Full mount : A full mount globe has a full meridian, as well as a horizon band ( commonly made of wood) that encircles the globe at a 90 degree angle to the meridian.   It is considered the most complete mount, it is the most traditional mounting style, and historically was by far the most common way globes were produced up until the mid point of the 19th century,  they are still made and sold today.  They are because of the materials involved the most expensive globes to produce.

     Just as then, today collectors can find all styles, and plenty of variations of these 3 main styles for sale, and just as then sometimes the price of a vintage globe is influenced by it's mounting style.  All other things being equal I would expect to pay about 20% more for a globe in full meridian and an additional 20% premium for a fully mounted globe.
     For example if you were to find a nice 8 inch Weber Costello globe with claw foot base in the simple mount I'd expect the price to be $250-$400 based on condition( at auction).  If this same globe, same condition were in a full meridian, I would expect $300- $500.  And If this globe came up at auction in it's full mount variant ( the most rare) I would expect to pay somewhere in the $400- $650 price range.  Again this is a very rough guide but I want to illustrate how the globe mount will affect value.

Happy Hunting......

Friday, April 26, 2019

1940's C S Hammond celestial globe, and an eBay adventure

     As some of you will know, I'm on eBay every day checking for items that in my mind hit that sweet spot of condition, age and rarity .  Bonus points if this item can be had at a great price!
     This past Saturday I hit the trifecta.  I found a C S Hammond's celestial globe listed in the antique map section,  not the sub section of globes but in the broader map category, it was listed with a fair description and less than great pictures,  several of those pictures seemed to highlight damage to the globe, but more on that later,  heres what I found:
1940's CS Hammond celestial glob

     This globe came my way via a BIN style listing on eBay.  Free shipping was included in the listing price.  The price was such that even with the apparent flaws I had no qualms buying this globe.  So what is it?   This globe is a collaboration between CS Hammond of NY and Denoyer Geppert of Chicago.  The orb is from Hammond's and the base and mounting is from Geppert.    This is a 12 inch globe certainly meant for a school setting.  Unlike many other celestial globes this one is no nonsense.  It is a tool for study, it is not decorated with zodiac creatures in the background, it is simply constellations , with no adornments.  It sits in a forked meridian which allows it to be rotated easily in any direction. The base has a swivel feature that allows the meridian to spin independently of the orb.   The base is a simple hammertone painted metal; sturdy and functional, again not necessarily decorative.  It definitely  has the "look" of the late 1930's or 1940's .  A completely functional celestial globe for schools.
Actual Denoyer Geppert Ad, 1952
     Now I mentioned something about an eBay adventure,   First I want to mention a few things about this globe, and how it was originally sold.  It came in 3 styles a simple offset mount, with no meridian,  this style with a moveable meridian , and finally a fully mounted version with a wooden horizon band,  This globe was also available as a 16 inch version, in all 3 mounting styles.  Now I'm unclear if Just Denoyer Geppert sold this item or if Hammond's also sold this globe. Further research will have to be done.
      As It sits this globe is in exceptional preservation , just a hint of wear on the base as well as on the orb, but not much.  This is exactly as I like to add items to my collection.   That's certainly why I only seem to add one or two new things a year on average, I seem to turn down 99 out of 100 old globes that I consider.
     So, on to my eBay adventure.    I saw this globe during a search, and the pictures were dim, and a bit out of focus.  They also highlighted some issues,  mainly a disfiguring piece of masking taps across the base, as well as some white residue in several spots on the globe orb.  Here are pictures from the listing.

     These two pictures are representative of what I was looking at in the listing.  See the base must have had something written in masking tape and I'm still not sure what this white residue was on the orb itself.  Now normally I would pass by such a globe, but I was feeling uncharacteristically daring.  I knew a few tricks I was willing to try to remove the tape, and I thought I might also be able to remove the white stuff also.    So I bought the thing, and FedEx dropped it off at 8:30 this morning.   Right out of the box I figured I better tackle the tape, or else I'd just re-list the thing.   This type of hammered finish paint was common in the 1930's and 40's and I had encountered it before on other collectibles.  The key to removing the adhesive and not the paint was a 12 and 1/2 mix of canola oil and baking soda .  I made a paste and applied,  waited 30 minutes, and repeated.  It took about 4 applications but sure enough the base came out looking almost new.  
This picture shows the base, all cleaned up, and also in a much better light than the eBay pictures,  I tell ya.... If I had a buck for every eBay auction I've seen with lousy pictures......   In this day and age how hard is it to take a decent picture?
      OK, I digress,  back to the topic at hand,  the white stuff, was on 4-5 different places on the orb, and I was very fortunate that a product called Absorene which is a rubber like putty was able to lift every last spot and bring the orb back to life.   All in all I spent about 2 hours working on this globe and the final results are wonderful.  
     This now becomes one of the newest globes in my collection,  but I've always been drawn to this model of celestial globe.  For one thing it was sold at a time when most globe manufactures in the USA had ceased production of celestial globes, Rand Mcnally still made them, and theirs were still decorative objects.  This model seems destined for many an astronomy classroom to be studied and worked with as a tool ,  science first, art ..... well not even thought of.    That's kinda what Denoyer Gepppert globes are all about, a no nonsense approach ,   a focus on the education market.   Very little attempt to sell to households.   The Americanized celestial globe if you will.
Elegant in its simplicity. 

      One final thing,  on the underside of the base some writing was found that explained a lot about this globe.   One word said simply " GS Library"   so this globe lived in some sort of library probably a school library not a public library. Also written were the words. " Discarded 4-85". I believe that this meant that the aforementioned library sold or gave this globe away in April 1985.  So this globe served it's purpose for nearly 40 years before being moved along.   That probably explains why it has remained in such nice shape, it was institutionally owned, then some employee probably took it home and it sat there for the next 30 years until their estate sale.........then through the antiques chain to me.

Happy hunting.....

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Trippensee planetarium..... round 2

      If you read this blog you'll know I've been long fascinated with the Trippensee planetariums.   A while back, I was able to find a very nice planetarium and I wrote about it extensively.
I'm back to talk about a second acquisition.  This being a decidedly newer version of the classic Planetarium design.
Trippensee planetarium 1963

     Now many of you are familiar with this item, it's not necessarily rare, but it's certainly uncommon.  This style of Trippensee was manufactured just after WW2 until about 1965, in 1965 the metal gears were swapped out for a black plastic gear assembly.  So this device still shares a bit of heritage with it's decades older sibling.  It has also not been electrified.    More commonly found on the market are planetariums from the 1960's that have an electric motor that rotates the device, and a lightbulb in the sun that casts " sunlight" on the planets.   As a collector personally this is the newest Trippensee that I   would consider collecting.   These planetariums are date stamped on the underside this one is stamped 1963.  
      Let's talk condition, as you know I'm a condition nut!  When I look at buying something to add to my collection I am only interested in the best condition I can afford.  I saw this particular item on an auction site and I scrutinized it's condition for a long time, I asked questions and also asked for extra close up pictures to verify what was being offered.   These planetariums in my opinion should only be considered for purchase if they are complete, fully functioning, and all parts are clean, and pristine.  This planetarium fit the bill, the globe was near flawless, the bakelite and gears were just right.   Notice that the chains and metal pieces are clean, no rust, no dirt buildup, as well as being a mellow dull ,  that's what you want to see, that peans most likely no replacement parts.  Oh of course the compass is intact and functioning.  DO NOT buy this model with missing parts, especially the globe, they are impossible to find. It's just not worth it.
      Now, lets talk about what you should expect to pay for a crisp, clean proper example of this type of planetarium.   I saw one of these once at Heart of Ohio Antiques priced at $1200,  I bet it's still there because it is AT LEAST double what the market is bearing right now.  At auction or on eBay expect to find a nice example at $350-$550.  Two years ago I would have said something $200 higher but it seems some of the wind has come out of the sails.
Left 1963,    right 1927
 A fresh update:  I was thumbing through a  1952 Denoyer Geppert catalog I just acquired , and I came across an advertisement for the Trippensee Planetarium,  I found it interesting that the ad mentions brass construction, and the picture, while certainly not definitive suggests a brass and lacquered wood construction.  Now I've always assumed that the red bakelite models started production after WW2 but perhaps they held onto the older version into the very early 1950's.  Additionally a new electrified model at $172 more than double is offered! More research will have to happen,  here is the ad, from 1952:
1952 Trippensee ad