Wednesday, December 2, 2020

This globe collectors year in review

     Obviously 2020 has presented multiple challenges. To pretend differently is foolish, that said I want to post about quite an interesting year on the collecting front.    Some years I find many new treasures, some years I find very few. This year was something of a banner year as far as my collection goes.  I'm going to run down from the start.

1.  The year started out slowly In January and February I was able to purchase a series of great globe related ephermal items. Including an exceedingly rare AH Andrews original advertisement, and a Schedler globe manual/ catalog . 

2.  March and April brought 2 tiny surprises to my collection the addition of a Holbrook 3 inch hinged globe as well as a great Schedler 3 inch globe.  Both went off to Green Dragon for some conservation work and I was able to check two globes off my bucket list.   Incidentally I was also able to secure an original Schedler handbook to complete the globe. 

3. April found me on eBay with the chance to purchase a great small globe from the American globe and School supply company.  I bought it right so I was willing to try my hand at a cleaning technique that turned out to work with spectacular results. 


4.  May took me on a bit of a road trip to find a delightful Amberg flat file cabinet that would prove the perfect storage solution for my ever accumulating collection of handbooks, ads, and manuals.   Everything cataloged and in one place. 

5.  June was interesting in that I was afforded the opportunity to purchase the wooden carrying case that would complete my Trippensee Planetarium, that along with the correct instruction book make for a wonderful set. 

6.  September found me much closer to home where I was able to locate an original wall map of my hometown,  with some ingenuity I was able to hang it in a place that minimizes exposure to damaging UV rays as well as allowing the map to become a centerpiece of my library. 

All in all a banner year for this collector,  Some of these items were bargains some were retail purchases, but when considered as bringing joy and preserving history then a worthwhile expense for sure!

Monday, July 20, 2020

Holbrook 3 inch globe update

.    A few months back I came into possession of a nice Holbrook 3 inch hinged globe.  It had a few minor issues and I was struggling to find a way to properly protect and display this small gem.  With the help of  The Green Dragon Bindery I was able to solve both problems.  In the picture below I have a wonderful clamshell box with a special insert designed to display the Holbrook globe 2 different ways.  The globe can sit in the  insert in the open position showing the flat map , or you can choose to display the globe in hemispheres on the cushioned display piece,  an ingenious solution to a difficult globe to display well,  when not on display it all closes up in a neat dust free protective package.

In the next couple photos I'm showing the small globe in its protective box,  the box itself is made from a repurposed World book encyclopedia, I love the new world book it's become! 

Holbrook hinged globes were a wonderfully utilitarian learning tool.  For that reason they survive today in generally poor condition.  I am fortunate to have found a nice survivor, and Green Dragon Bindery did a superb job conserving it and fixing a few small issues. It will now carry on another 100 years as a piece of American history.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Amberg Stacking file cabinet, a globe accessory?

     Today I'm going to walk in a bit of a different direction.  For a long time I've been collecting lots and lots of globe related ephemeral items.  Everything from catalogs, handbooks, to advertising about old American globes .  I've got easily over 50 pieces of this material, a reference catalog of sorts related to American globe manufacturing , sales and use.   I love thumbing through and learning from this resource, but it's been gathering dust in a plastic tote, if my collection is to gather dust it must do so in style! Enter this Amberg stacking file cabinet.

     I've been on the hunt for just the right cabinet to hold all of my globe curiosities,  and I think I've found it.  This piece dates from the first quarter of the 20th century, and was manufactured by the Amberg letter file company( NY, Chicago) . 16 drawers measuring 11x20 inches each . Perfectly suited for storing many small volumes flat.
      The cabinet has a very unique feature in the two Brass rods that act as a locking mechanism for each side of the cabinet,  they have precisely machined  holes that will accept a small padlock, quite ingenious.  I don't think this is original, but I do think it's contemporary to its use.  I can just imagine a library or science lab 100 years ago taking delivery of this item and deciding that whatever they needed to store inside needed protection,  so an enterprising individual devised a most elegant solution.    I purchased this from a very elderly man who owned it for a very long time and couldn't recall where it was from,  my imagination will have to suffice.
     Now I've got plenty of space to store all of my globe related items and a handy shelf to place a few more globes, a win/ win!    As always let's discuss globes and related topics,  and of course happy hunting......

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A 6 inch student globe, American globe and School supply, 1892

     I have a love hate relationship with eBay,  as you will know if your a regular reader.   This is a story about why I love it.  Recently I was able to find a very special globe.  American globe and school supply 6 inch globe, copyright 1892 by Rand McNally.
6 inch student globe, 1892
American globe and school supply, Seneca Falls NY
      So  as I search eBay every day I stumbled across an auction for what appeared to be a pretty rare globe,  I say appear to be because the pictures were a bit dark.   I studied the pictures as best I could, read and then re-read the description.   I was set to take a chance I thought this globe could be something special.   I sent an offer under the “ make an offer “ button and then I waited........ late the same evening I hear back from the seller,   I pepper her with questions that the pictures just didn’t answer, satisfied I made my offer.  She accepted and that was it.  
     The globe was shipped the next day using USPS priority mail,   8 days later it arrives I was nail biting the whole time, as I tracked the globe all over its circutitus route to my door.  Finally it arrived well packaged and undamaged.   I opened the box to discover a very interesting small globe, and I was confronted with something interesting,  an extremely dirty orb.  Now in some ways this is good, if a globe has not been monkeyed around with by others than it is sometimes not difficult to remove a layer of surface grime without harming the underlying surface.  
 Here I have a picture of the globe 1/2 way  through a process I employed to remove the surface dirt and grime.    The results were astounding.   As you can see this globe had 120 plus years of environmental contaminants baked into the surface.   Now I AM NOT a professional, I want to be clear that I rolled the dice with this little cleaning project so I will not be going into the details here because it very easily could have gone the other way.  Suffice it to say I got lucky.   Now with that said the results were great, it took a ho hum globe and brought it back to a really nice condition, a condition I can be happy having in my permanent collection.   
     I want to talk about American globe and school supply a little bit because this is a company that as early as 1885 was making globes in its Seneca Falls NY factory.   This particular globe of mid 1890’s vintage has Rand McNally gores,  earlier AGSS globes,, say pre 1890 are found to have English gores, probably from W&AK Johnson.    If the globe has the characteristic “ race track” analemma its Rand McNally,  if it has a figure 8 analemma it's from Johnson.
Early Johnson orb, for AGSS
It's interesting to note that American Globe and School supply was fairly prolific,  especially in the northeast US.  much of their production
Near identical cartouche
to AGSS, and Johnston orb
is aimed at the student and school market, so it's a wonder many of their globes survive today.   Seneca falls was in the 1880-90 time frame home to another company called " Star Eraser" their claim to fame was a dustless eraser, but they for a few years sold globes that were re brands of American globe and school supply, they seemed to stop before 1890 because they are only found with Johnston gores, here is an example notice the cartouche is very similar to early AGSS cartouche, nearly identical.
   I have written before about Star eraser, really a flash in the pan globe maker,  extremely rare globes.  
     So let's get back to the globe at hand,  for a student globe of the early 1890's it sits in a very nice  state of preservation, the nickel plated base ( a hallmark of AGSS) is slightly pitted, but is better than average.   This globe would have cost about $1.50 in 1892 which was a considerable sum.  Switching from imported gores to domestically sourced gores from the upstart Rand Mcnally was probably a business decision as a way to keep costs low.  This is a great example of how the maker of the gores, maker of the stand and the eventual seller can be 3 different entities in American globe production.
     I want to make special mention about the individual who sold me this globe, she shared a wonderful story of it's provenance starting in Nyack NY and traveling through time until the present day,  those stories are why I love this type of history so much,  thank you.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Schedler 3 inch globe, I love the small ones

     I just can't get enough of small globes.  Certainly it's a space issue, my study is fast filling and I'm starting to get dirty looks from my better half.   Anyhoo today I received in the mail a beautiful Schedler 3 inch globe mounted plainly on an iron stand.    Now looking at this picture you've got see past on he warts,  there's an issue with the axis, it's just not sitting right and the shellac is dark, very dark in fact. But look closer there's a lot of great colors coming through that dirty shellac, and for these 2 reasons I'll be sending this little gem off to Green Dragon Bindery for some TLC.
3 inch paperweight globe

     So lets go over a few details about this globe, it's a 3 inch orb, cast iron base, and stands a total of only 5 inches high.  Under that  dark shellac is a quite detailed map surface.   I'm going to  cross my fingers that conservation goes well,  I have a picture of a completely restored version of this globe t5hat was sold several years back by a European dealer so that the potential is there.

     here you can see just what I hope to find lingering under that darkness, I'll be certain to update  once work is completed.  Now there's no guarantees with any restoration project but I'm going to be an optimist.  I was quite fortunate to have secured a copy of the original Schedler globe manual and catalog to accompany this small globe they make a nice set for sure,  I can't recall ever seeing this globe manual for sale publicly.

    I have been trying to find  nice Schedler globe to add to my collection for a number of years and usually the condition these globes are found in gives me pause.    Schedler globes I am told are notorious for condition issues relating to the orbs.  It seems that they skipped the plaster overlay step in a cost saving move and instead laid paper gores right down to pressed wood, or wood substrates and the acid in the wood led to discoloration of the paper.  We won't know if this globe has suffered that fate until the shellac is off. Either way this little gem will be enjoyed.
UPDATE:  7/20/2020,  the results are in  my little Schedler globe is back from it's visit to the Green Dragon Bindery and I think things have improved greatly.    Below you will see two pictures of the globe in it's fresh state of presentation.  Three things were done to improve this globe.  
1. The axis rod was re-set properly it is no longer protruding it is now flush as intended. 
2.  The old dark shellac was removed and this small globe was re-coated with shellac,  notice that the general appearance is much brighter and clearer, yes there are some dark spots remaining such is life with a Schedler globe, the original manufacturing process is the culprit.
3. A new bushing was fit in the base so that the globe will spin freely and correctly. 

These conservation measures were well worth it for this globe as there just are not that many of these small Schedlers around.   They come up in auctions but are usually flawed to the point where a conservation effort isn't worth it.  This is my first Schedler but certainly I will be on the lookout for more, they produced some of the most ornate bases for globes in the 19th century.   Happy hunting!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

An American Pocket globe, Holbrook 3 inch hemispheric globe

     The traditional pocket globe is an English creation of the 17th century, a small 2-3 inch globe usually ensconced in a fish skin case, sometimes a small walnut box.  They are wonderful and highly sought.  However I'm not writing about those gems today.   I'm focusing on something  just as unique but with a totally American bent.  The Holbrook hemispheric globe,  or as I like to call it the original American pocket globe.   Here we have a wonderful piece of ingenuity a 3 inch round wooden ball, split in half, then hinged and on the outside a rudimentary globe of the earth, and on the inside a conventional flat map projection of the continents.  A remarkable treasure of American creativity, made around 1855 and sold primarily to schools with the focus on getting these globes in pupils hands to manipulate, and learn.
     This particular globe was manufactured by the Holbrook school apparatus company of Weathersfield Connecticut.   Holbrook made 3 variations of this 3 inch globe, as well as a larger 5 inch model. They were made with prison labor and sold widely at the time to the public schools just starting to populate our country.
      I have been on the lookout for a nice example of a Holbrook Hemispheric globe for a long time. The problem is most every one of these globes comes to market with major condition issues that make them less than desirable in my mind.  For a while I have been considering a globe on offer from Jake Moore at Omniterrum, he had in stock a Holbrook globe that was the variation with a much more detailed and colorful map. In my opinion the most desirable variant of the Holbrook 3 inch hemisphere globes, also the variant seen less often on the market.   So these 2 photos show the interior "flat map" and the exterior global projection.  Notice the exterior map is fairly well detailed for such a small globe especially considering that this globe was produced for children to be a rudimentary teaching tool.  The interior map is much less detailed showing only continents, rather than countries.  I have included a picture of the more frequently encountered variant with the outline color in a picture here.  Students in the 1850's  would be exceptionally lucky to have a globe such as this, many students in Ohio had these as the state purchased thousands!
The more commonly encountered
variant , with outline color

      One of the problems that  is encountered with owning a small hinged Holbrook globe is the challenge in properly displaying such an object.   I think I  have an elegant solution.  I had commissioned a wonderful clamshell box that I have then fitted with a special insert to hold and at the same time display the globe.  Here is a picture of the storage box that I think completes the globe.

  This particular clamshell is unique in that it took the cover from an old World Book encyclopedia to create what amounts to a completely different "world book".  The inside is festooned with a couple of old maps that add another level of whimsey to the purpose of this artful container.   The custom insert holds the globe in the open position. This is in my mind the more elegant presentation.    Of course this box plays double duty as an archival storage for such a delicate piece of history.    I'm going to add a small pillow, or foam backed support to secure the globe in it's display box and I'll update this post once I have a finished presentation.
     If anyone has read my blog for a while you will know that I'm a condition nut!  I strive to purchase only globes that are in excellent original condition, or short of that finding globes that can be made whole with a minimum of cleaning and conservation.  This Holbrook globe proved to be a challenge.   Firstly these globes do come up for sale most often in what can be described as atrocious condition.  They either need extensive restoration, or they reside at a near beyond repair condition.   Also complicating the matter is the fact that most Holbrook Hemisphere globes for sale seem to be the less detailed variants.  So I've struggled to find the variant I want in the condition I want.   This globe shows wear, primarily on the outside, in the form of scuffing, primarily in the eastern hemisphere, and chips in the plaster skim coat on the edges and in the northern hemisphere, as can be seen in these close ups, notice the northern hemisphere has a chip and some scuffs, the same for the edge where the spheres meet and the southern pole is also affected.  Admittedly the pictures shown accentuate the flaws, in hand they are not nearly as intrusive.  Now normally I would be less than excited owing such a globe, so what gives?   Well I've come to the conclusion that as a package this particular globe is nicer than average, especially because the inside is in exceptionally nice shape.  Also I really have yet to see a Holbrook hinged globe with zero damage at the edges, it's a function of the design, age, and intended use.   All in all given it's 160+ years of age, the fact that it was meant for children, and the fact that it was a rather ephemeral item I think this globe is a pretty decent survivor, and I'm happy to have it in my collection.  I am also very fortunate to own a rare book published by the Holbrook company that would have been used by the teacher in the classroom while demonstrating this globe,   This book makes an incredible accompaniment for the globe, in fact it is far rarer than the globe itself.  It was a lucky eBay find covered in another post, now they are a set!

     I hope you have enjoyed seeing the latest addition to my globe collection,  this is globe number 30 and has been on my wish list for a long time.  It fills a gap in my collection as until this globe came along I did not own a globe from the Holbrook company, and in my opinion this is the most iconic of the Holbrook globes so all in all a really exciting addition.   As I mentioned this globe was purchased from Jake Moore at omniterrum, and the clamshell box is with thanks to  BookGrrlBindery
     As always please leave comments, or feel free to contact me about anything globe related at the following email:

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Some fresh eBay finds

      It's been too long since I wrote anything on the blog,  apologies  sometimes you become busy and time slips by.
      If your a steady reader of the blog you will know I have a love/ hate relationship with eBay.   It's the source of some of my best finds and also sometimes my greatest frustrations.  eBay seems to go in waves, sometimes there's just great stuff coming up all the time and sometimes there's just nothing for months and months.  Of course this is highly subjective if I'm not finding things certainly does not mean that others with other interests are not finding deals of a lifetime!
      The past 2 weeks have been interesting I've been able to score some great globe related research materials for next to nothing things that add to my education.  First up I have an interesting letter and Catalog from the George F. Cram company.   Cram's does not get a lot of love from me mainly because their globes come on the scene in the 1930's towards the end of my collecting interest, but this is different.
      Here we have a Cram catalog from 1906, and we also have a wonderful ad for the ACTUAL first Cram globe.

   This catalog found no love on eBay, I was an early and lone bidder winning this gem for under nine dollars.  It was well worth it for the history It provides me.   The catalog is actually full of color pages of maps for sale, color being a rarity in catalogs this old.  The real excitement for me is the advertising for the 12 inch globe prominently featured on the back cover.  The George F. Cram company issued one globe well before the 1930's globes that we are all familiar with.  This ad suggests a map updated for 1905!  These are amongst the rarest of Cram globes. I've known one collector with a mint example, and I've seen perhaps one other in my collecting time.  This ad easily pictures not only the earliest Cram globe but also the most desirable Cram globe made.   After this globe ceased production Cram was out of the globe business for a while resurfacing in 1932 with their vast array of globes that continued for decades.  
      The next eBay find I have is a bit of a mystery to me.  I have a Johnston's celestial globe handbook, with no discernible date of printing.   The clue of the cost of the book at one shilling surely makes it a rather early item.   I purchased this with the distant thought that this just might be the manual that would have accompanied a celestial globe I already own.  The globe in question is an AH Andrews celestial , but the Andrews company sourced their gores for the celestial from W&AK Johnston.  Could this little tome be the handbook that would have been provided ?  It certainly has to be a possibility.  I've never seen an Andrews Celestial handbook, and the cover in this case matches the globes color?   Anyhow I was the lone bidder at 99 cents!  It  was interesting because as I  type this there I another copy of this handbook on eBay for $120.  It goes to show that the ephemera associated with globes is valuable only to those who have the globes themselves .
       Here is a photo of the globe I think attaches to this handbook, its a late 19th century Andrews 12 inch celestial.  A true rarity, I've seen 2 others in 15 years.
     I hope you've enjoyed this post, and I hope to have another post along much quicker than this. As always please feel free to comment, or reach out to me to discuss globes, collecting or anything else associated with this great hobby.