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Globe, American, Fitz, Terrestrial World, 12-Inch Table Globe, Ellen Fitz Iron Stand, Antique, Boston, Late 19th C.

Ellen Fitz (inventor)
12-Inch Terrestrial Globe in Fitz Mount
Gilman Joslin, Boston (globe gores)
Ginn & Heath, Boston: c. 1875 to 1889
16.25 inches high; 11 inches diameter, base

A 12-inch terrestrial globe on an innovative globe mount patented in 1875 by an American governess named Ellen Fitz.  This device serves as a terrestrial globe, and also shows the length of daylight, twilight and nighttime hours at any place on the earth, and the changes of seasons and other astronomical phenomena related to the “apparent” path of the sun. The globe is surmounted by an hour pointer, and is set within two parallel three-quarter-round flat brass bands approximately 1 7/8 inches apart that encircle the globe, serving as daylight/twilight bands. It is raised on the patented Fitz round cast-iron turntable base with four curved feet. The base is comprised of a the round rotating platter with engraved paper calendar, and having a red horizontal line painted on the platter and a repeating gilt decoration painted on the edge of the base. A vertical bent-rod pointer directed at the globe is set within the base.

Product description continues below.


Geographical entities are shaded brightly in pink, green, blue, yellow, with some thin red and thicker green outlining. Waters and some geographical entities are a cream color. There is a figure-eight analemma and printed polar hour circles. Mountain ranges are lightly shaded. The tracks of explorers in the oceans include Cook, Wilkes, Vancouver and De La Perouse. In the United States, North and South Dakota are one territory (before 1889). Oklahoma is not named as such or as Indian Territory but rather it is labeled with the tribes Cherokees, Creeks and Choctaws (apparently before or around the time of The 1890 Organic Act in which it became Oklahoma Territory).  Other Native American tribes are indicated in the West including Assiniboins, Mandans, Sioux, Crow and Comanches. The Northern Territory in Australia is called Alexandra Land.

Ellen Fitz (b. 1836), an American governess from St. John County, New Brunswick invented a cast-iron geographical and astronomical demonstration device incorporating a terrestrial globe, and secured a patent for her globe mount in 1875. In 1876, Fitz published Handbook of the Terrestrial Globe; or, Guide to Fitz’s New Method of Mounting and Operating Globes, and it was republished for several years thereafter. The Fitz globe device was produced from about the late 1870s to the late 1880s by Ginn & Heath of Boston, a prominent book publisher, in two sizes — with a 6 or 12-inch terrestrial globe. Apparently Ginn & Heath, in cooperation with Fitz, had the Fitz stand manufactured and contracted with globe makers (either Gilman Joslin, Boston, or W. & A.K. Johnston, of London)  to provide the globe or globe gores. The name Ginn Brothers also appears on some Fitz globes.

This particular example of the Fitz globe device can be dated approximately to between 1875 when Fitz secured a patent for her globe mount and 1889 when the Dakotas became separate states. The globe itself was produced by Gilman Joslin Boston; it has a Ginn & Heath label pasted, as issued, over a printed Joslin cartouche. The Joslin cartouche shows through slightly because the Ginn & Heath over-label is printed on very thin paper.

Round Cartouche: FITZ GLOBE,/ Manufactured by/ GINN & HEATH

Condition: Globe recently professionally cleaned and revarnished, also restoring various small scattered abrasions and cracks, with the usual remaining toning, wear, handling.  Iron base very good, the stenciling a bit worn but still present. Later facsimile paper horizon and calendar band applied to outer ring of turntable as is typical since original labels on iron are susceptible to deterioration.


Dekker, Elly and van der Krogt, Peter. Globes from the Western World. London: Zwemmer, 1993. pp. 128-129.

Fitz, Ellen E. Handbook of the Terrestrial Globe or, Guide to Fitz’s New Method of Mounting and Operating Globes. Boston: Ginn and Heath, 1878.

“Fitz Globe.” American Treasures of the Library of Congress. 27 July 2010. (18 March 2016).

The Year-Book of Education for 1879. E. Steiger, New York: 1879, Ginn & Heath Advertisement, p. 350.

Warner, Deborah Jean. “The Geography of Heaven and Earth,” Rittenhouse Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise, Vol. 2, No. 2 (1987), page 62.



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Hardwood, Wood