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Globe, American, Franklin, HB Nims, Pair, Terrestrial World, Celestial, 10-Inch Table Globes, Pedestal Stands, Antique, Troy, c. 1880s


Franklin Globes
10-Inch Terrestrial and Celestial Masonic Globes
H. B. Nims & Co., Troy, New York: c. 1879-85 (attributed to)
18 inches high
$9,500, the pair

Pair of terrestrial and celestial Masonic globes, each with a printed hour circle and set within an uncalibrated brass half meridian, and raised on a later turned hardwood stand with cylindrical central standard and round base. The terrestrial globe has cream-colored oceans with land entities shaded in green, pink and blue, and continents outlined with a gray border. North and South Dakota are shown prior to statehood in 1889 as the single region “Dacota,” and Oklahoma in its entirely as Indian Territory, as it was called before 1890. The cartography reflects Western geographic knowledge of the era, with areas unexplored by Europeans left blank. Therefore, only the coastal areas of Africa are labeled with political boundaries, while the interior is broadly labeled “Sahara or Great Desert,” “Soudan,” and “Ethiopia.” India is called “Hindoostan.” “Chinese Wall” is labeled on the northern border of China with Mongolia.­ Antarctica is mostly left blank, showing only the small sections of its northern coastline that had been mapped at that time; the rest is labeled “Antarctic Sea.” Short texts printed on the oceans provide historical and geographical facts about Balboa’s discovery of the Pacific Ocean, the Republic of Liberia, Napoleon’s exile on St. Helena, the establishment of the British Colony of New Zealand, and the site where Captain Cook died in the Sandwich Islands (present day Hawaii). The Atlantic Cable between Britain and the U.S. is shown as “Submarine Telegraph Cable,” as is the “Submarine Telegraph French” between the U.S. and France, completed in 1879. The tracks of the American explorer Charles Wilkes and the British explorer Captain James Cook are indicated in the oceans. The shipping route between New York and San Francisco via Aspinwall, Panama, (now Colon) is also shown. (Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, a rail line conveyed goods across Panama between ships in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.) An oval “Improved Analemma” is in the Pacific Ocean.

Product description continues below.


On the celestial globe, the constellations, including zodiac signs, are well delineated and elegantly depicted as figures from Greek mythology, animals, and scientific instruments. The stars are shown to six orders of magnitude, along with variable stars and planetary nebulae, according to a key within a small rectangle between the constellations Vulpecula and Pegasus. Many individual stars are labeled with Greek letters, and in the case of brighter ones like Regulus, with their names. Some of the constellations are hand-colored in shades of brown, green, orange, red, and gray. The edges of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles are shaded brown­. The ecliptics and equatorial line are rendered as dashed lines.

This pair of globes was originally mounted on a pair of painted carved wooden Corinthian columns for use in a Masonic temple. They have now been adapted as table globes retaining the original brass half meridians, but on later table stands. As is typical with Masonic globes they are not signed by a globe maker.  Nonetheless, the terrestrial globe appears to have identical globe gores to a Franklin Terrestrial Globe having the following cartouche: “THE FRANKLIN/ TERRESTRIAL/ GLOBE/ 10 INCHES IN DIAMETER CONTAINING ALL THE/ Geographical Divisions/ & POLITICAL BOUNDARIES/ to the present date/ carefully compiled from the best Authorities/ H.B. Nims & Co./ Troy N.Y.” Franklin Globes were produced throughout the second half of the 19th century in Troy, New York, by a succession of globe makers and booksellers: Merriam & Moore (c. 1848-52), Merriam Moore & Co. (1852-58), Moore & Nims (1858-68), H.B. Nims & Co. (1869-85), Nims & Knight (1886-89), and back to H.B. Nims & Co. (1890-96).  Based on the above cartouche, this pair can be attributed to H.B. Nims & Co. They more likely would have been made in the earlier phase of H.B. Nims (1869-1885) rather than the later phase (1890-96) insofar as they show Oklahoma in its entirety as Indian Territory (1890 or earlier) and Dakota as a single territory (prior to 1889 statehood). The date of manufacture can be further narrowed down to after 1879 insofar as they include the transatlantic cable between the U.S. and France.

Documented extant Franklin Masonic globes are scarce, but they appeared in company advertisements. For example, the H.B. Nims & Company 1895-96 catalog offered a pair shown in a small schematic illustration of two columns decorated with Masonic symbols, each topped by a sphere with longitude and latitude lines, accompanied by this text:

MASONIC GLOBES. For Masonic Lodges we furnish simply the Terrestrial and Celestial Balls, with the maps colored and varnished. They are usually placed on the top of columns, as represented in the cut. 12-inch Terrestrial and Celestial, per pair, $10.00. 10-inch Terrestrial and Celestial, per pair, $8.00.

Franklin globes were produced throughout the second half of the 19th century in Troy, New York — with Franklin Field of Troy, New York as globe maker — by a succession of companies under their own names: Merriam & Moore (1851-1852), Merriam Moore & Co. (1852-1858), Moore & Nims (1858-1868), H.B. Nims & Co. (1869-1885), Nims & Knight (1886-1889/92), and again H.B. Nims & Co. (1890/92-1896). The globes were variously available in the six, ten, twelve, sixteen, and thirty-inch diameters, with a variety of bases, generally in cast iron or wood and often reflecting the prevailing Victorian decorative arts style of the period. Models were made for both school and home parlor or library use. Collectively Franklin with its successors was one of the leading American globe makers of the 19th century in terms of quality, number and diversity of globes, and longevity of production.

Historical and Geographical Inscriptions (as written, including punctuation):

The Pacific Ocean was discovered by Balboa in 1513. First navigated by Magellan in 1520 It extends from North to South 7500 miles and from East to west 10000 miles

The Republic of Liberia extends along the west coast of Africa from the Gallinas river 420 miles SE to the San Pedro with an average breadth inland of 10 miles comprising an area of 16,800 Square miles

In the year 1815 the late Emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte was brought to St. Helena. In 1821 he died and was buried there In 1840 his remains were conveyed to France in the frigate Belle Poule under the command of Prince de Joinville

Capt. Cook killed here Feb. 14th 1779

Condition: Each generally very good, recently professionally restored, including the restoration of minor scattered cracks, abrasions, and losses, now with light remaining toning, wear, and, handling while retaining an overall deep rich color tone. Originally issued as masonic globes on columns, each now on a matching later stained hardwood pedestal stand with circular central standard and round base.


Catalogue of School, Family and Library Globes, Dictionary, Holders, Library and Stationery Specialties. Troy, New York: H.B. Nims & Company, 1895-96, p. 3.

Dekker, Elly and van der Krogt, Peter. Globes from the Western World. London: Zwemmer, 1993. p. 135-36, 140.

Glover, Bill. “History of the Atlantic Cable & Submarine Telegraphy Cable Timeline: 1845-1900.” Atlantic Cable. 5 November 2005. (7 October 2019).

Warner, Deborah Jean. “The Geography of Heaven and Earth.” Rittenhouse Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise, 1987. Vol. 2, Nos. 2 & 3, pp. 63-64, 88-89.

Yonge, Ena L. A Catalogue of Early Globes, Library Series No. 6. American Geographical Society,1968. p. 53

Additional information

Maker Location


Globe Type



Hardwood, Wood, Mahogany


19th Century