Authentic Models Globes… All You Ever Needed to Know

No other company in the world offers reproduction antique globes of similar quality and affordability.
Attention to detail is key. Authentic Models globes are made using original charts, researched for their historical accuracy and visual appeal. Centuries ago globes were made by gluing copperplate printed gores on a plaster finished papier-mâché core. Given the limited technology available at the time, a complicated production process, and a multitude of specialists involved, it was logical that only the very rich could afford to own globes. This is illustrated by 18th C. Dutch painters who used globes to symbolize affluence, science, sophistication, and even worldliness. Our globes offer history at your fingertips and highlight some of the world’s most famous cartographers: Mercator, Hondius, and Vaugondy.

We often receive questions about our globes – how they are made, where we get the charts, etc. Below is a little Q&A session to help you out. If you have any other questions, let us know and we’ll do our best to answer!

Q: How are your globes made? 

A: Our globes are meticulously handcrafted using the complicated ‘gravure’ printing process that results in the sharpest details, lines and symbols, even on the smallest globe. Copperplate printed gores are hand applied to a papier-mâché or plastic core depending on the size.

Q: Where do you get the original charts to reproduce these globes?

A: Over the past 40 years, Authentic Models has developed a close relationship with libraries around the world. Among others, we work with the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Linda Hall Library of Science.

Q: What is that figure eight on maps and globes?

A: It’s called an analemma.  It shows the declination of the sun and the equation of time for each day of the year. It allows precise calculations of mean time (the time by which we set our clocks) by accounting for the tilt of the earth’s axis. It also marks the solstices and equinoxes.  You can read more about the analemma in a 1997 article from the Washington Post.

Q: Do you have more information about the people and companies that made the globes that you sell?

A: Yes!

Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594) studied at the ancient University of Louvain, then part of the Netherlands, now Belgium. He published his first terrestrial globe around 1536, which introduced new concepts for navigation. The oceans and seas were covered with ‘rhumb-lines’, which assisted in setting a course. The ‘Mercator’ projection translated a spherical chart onto a two-dimensional sheet of paper… so revolutionary; it was used until very recently.

Jodocus Hondius (1563-1629) was a skilled cartographer who fled his hometown of Ghent after the arrival of the Spanish Inquisition. After a period in London, he published a world map commemorating Drake’s circumnavigation of 1577-1580. Moving to Amsterdam, he purchased Mercator’s copperplates from which he published a new atlas and updated globes.

Father, Gilles Robert de Vaugondy, and son, Didier Robert de Vaugondy, were the leading mapmakers in France during the 1700s. Didier was appointed geographer to Louis XV in 1760 and published globes of various sizes – the biggest with a diameter of 2.6m, 8.5’!

Rand McNally & Co. was the preeminent publisher of maps and atlases in Chicago in the 1870s and 1880s. It wasn’t until the 1890s that they ventured into globe. As noted by scholar and librarian Cynthia H. Peters, the company “has become synonymous with map making in American life.”

Weber Costello & Co. was a major school supply company that sold a large variety of globes from 1907 to the early 1970s. The company was the successor to the 19th century firm A.H. Andrews & Co. For its terrestrial globes, Weber Costello & Co. used a variety of globe gores, some imported, and some manufactured in the United States. They also supplied globes to other school supply companies.

Q: Do you have geographically ‘up to date’ globes?

A: A leader in antique replica globes, AM globes are historically accurate. We do not carry modern-day globes.


~ by authenticmodels on April 26, 2011.

2 Responses to “Authentic Models Globes… All You Ever Needed to Know”

  1. Thank you for a great post.

  2. Have bought two of their globes, including the large Navigator Globe with compass (right out of a 17th century Dutch painting!) and they’re beautiful! Am sorry though that A.M. seemingly discontinues products frequently. I guess that’s how businesses function, but…they used to offer a large celestial globe, and historically, globes came in pairs, celestial and terrestrial. The only celestial globe now available from them is a 4″ diameter globe. Drat!

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