Title - 30-inch Terrestrial Floor Globe
Artist - W. & A.K. Johnston, Ltd.
Type - Floor Globe
Size - 54 x 40 in
Medium- Mahogany stand with rectilinear base
Year - 1927-1930
Condition - Globe and horizon generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear and handling. Some irregularity to varnish, and a few minor scratches and abrasions, all professionally restored. Stand very good with the usual wear; recently French polished.
About the piece
This huge globe -- on a striking Arts and Crafts Movement stand -- makes a major statement in a library, entrance hall, or executive office. It has an interesting provenance as a diplomat's globe formerly in the historic Dumbarton Oaks house in Washington, D.C. where the United Nations charter was drawn up in 1944. The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection was founded there by the Bliss family. They gave the property to Harvard University in 1940.
The 30-inch globe is in a calibrated brass meridian with brass hour circles at the north and south poles, turning on a ball-bearing mechanism with a horizon band with paper calendar and zodiac. The horizon is raised on four quadrant supports turning on a pinion in a mahogany rectangular central pillar with horizontal molding, supported by four rectangular shaped flattened feet in cross configuration, ending in casters. Oceans are colored blue-green (yellowed varnish over blue), geographic entities are in various shades of yellow, orange, brown and green. Mountain ranges, plains, plateaus, river basins and lake-filled hollows are shaded. There is a figure-eight analemma over the Pacific Ocean. The cartography also features intercontinental communication and transportation, noting the locations of submarine cables and routes traveled by steamers and ocean vessels.
This globe shows present-day St. Petersburg, Russia, as "Leningrad;" therefore, it was made after 1924. Further, it shows Constantinople rather than Istanbul, indicating a date of manufacture before 1930. In addition, it shows Central Australia as a separate territory, limiting its period from 1927 to 1931.
This model was shown as a “Thirty-Inch Floor Stand Library Globe,” in a Rand McNally trade catalog issued about 1920 and described there as the largest size offered and "one of the most complete -- a globe unrivaled in wealth and accuracy of data and in beauty and perfection of finish. This globe cover is the highest expression of the engraver's art." The construction of the stand and the mechanism by which the meridian could be moved and the globe rotated was also top of the line.
The 30-inch globe was likely manufactured by the famous and prolific British globe maker, W. & A.K. Johnston based on other extant models with their cartouche. The considerable size of the globe allows for extensive cartographic detail. In this example, a Rand McNally overlabel cartouche is likely covering the original Johnston cartouche of the same size, form, and placement, as issued. Rand McNally provided the stand and sold and marketed the globe as a whole under its name.