By 1928, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) had agreed upon the division of the celestial sphere into 88 interlocking “modern” constellations enclosed by boundaries with straight-line contours at right angles to each other that is still in use today. These boundaries enclosed the traditional pictorial representations of the constellations that date back to antiquity for the Northern Hemisphere, and for Southern Hemisphere constellations that were added in the 16th and 17th centuries after European navigators mapped the sky south of the Equator. Accordingly, many 20th-century globe makers followed the IAU approach by including the outlined boundaries used by astronomers while showing the constellations as lines connecting the bright stars within each respective constellation, generally against a blue background to simulate the night sky. Hatched, solid, or colored lines have been variously employed by globe makers to represent these different categories of information. Nonetheless, some 20th-century celestial globes were still designed according to the earlier practices of showing the constellations as illustrations of mythological figures and scientific instruments, or enclosed within curved rather than straight-line boundaries.
Denoyer-Geppert’s 1963 catalog offered 16-inch celestial globes at different price points: a 23-1/2 degree axis stand, a stand with a weighted base and movable meridian, a “Liberty Cradle with Horizon,” and the most expensive option — a movable meridian with horizon — which describes the globe offered here. The brief catalog copy reads, “Show stars down to 6th magnitude on a light blue background. Epoch of 1930. Map mounted on pole of equator.”
The Denoyer-Geppert Company was a Chicago-based globe manufacturer and school supplier. Read more about the firm in our Guide to Globe Makers.
Circular cartouche: CELESTIAL/ 16 INCH GLOBE/ SYMBOLS OF APPARENT MAGNITUDE/ 1st. 2nd. 3rd./ OTHERS/ Denoyer-Geppert Co./ Chicago 40, U.S.A./ Copyright 1956
Meridian fork stamped: Made in U.S.A./ D.G. CO./ CHICAGO
Horizon band marked: Denoyer-Geppert Co. Chicago
Condition: Generally very good — the colors fairly bright — with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling.
Denoyer-Geppert Catalog 63. Chicago: Denoyer-Geppert Company, 1963. p. 68.
“The Constellations.” International Astronomical Union. https://www.iau.org/public/themes/constellations/ (4 December 2019).