The United States includes is divided into the states east of the Mississippi, along with Louisiana, “N’th West Terit’y” north of Illinois, a section labeled Arkansas, a large northern portion labeled “Missouri Ter’y,” with the portion to the south labeled “Internal Provinces.” Australia is labeled “Australasia” and “New Holland” with Tasmania labeled Van Dieman’s Land. Antarctica is labeled Antarctic Ocean and is unmapped, with a couple of areas labeled as having “many islands and fields of ice,” reflecting geographic knowledge at the time. Tracks of explorers are marked with dotted lines, including Cook, De la Perouse, Furneaux, Flinders, and Vancouver. There is a figure-eight analemma in the ocean. The horizon band is concentrically divided by the degrees of amplitude and azimuth, the zodiacal calendar by name and signs, a Gregorian calendar, compass points, and equation of time with an outer foliate border. As is typical for Wilson 13-inch terrestrial globes, the cartouche is surmounted by a highly decorative allegorical figure of Lady Columbia with dividers in her right hand, pointing at a terrestrial globe to her right which is surmounted by an eagle. This image was designed by David W. Wilson — one of James Wilson’s sons — and engraved by Balch, Rawdon & Co., Albany, New York.
A James Wilson globe should be the cornerstone of any major collection. James Wilson (1763-1855), a Bradford, Vermont, farmer and blacksmith by trade, is the father of American globe making. Wilson was the first American to manufacture globes, having been inspired by European globes he saw at nearby Dartmouth College. A self-taught geographer and engraver, he not only made the globe spheres but designed, engraved and printed the cartographic gores for them. Wilson began his business in Bradford in about 1810 and in 1815 moved to New York State, opening a larger and better-equipped globe manufacturing facility at 110 Washington Street in Albany. In 1817, his eldest son Samuel joined the business and the following year, his son John became a primary partner with his father. Another son, David Wilson worked briefly in the family business, designing a three-inch globe. The firm of J. Wilson & Sons quickly became known as a globe making family enterprise. Cyrus Lancaster, a graduate of Dartmouth College and a school instructor, joined the firm in 1827. Following the deaths of Samuel and John Wilson, Lancaster continued as business manager, and two years later became a member of the family, marrying Samuel’s widow, Rebecca. Lancaster produced a number of globes in Albany under the Wilson name, the last dated one in 1845.
Read more about the firm on our Guide to Globe Makers.
Cartouche: A NEW AMERICAN THIRT[EE]N INCH/ TERRESTRIAL GLOBE./ Exhibiting with the greatest possible Accuracy,/ THE POSITIONS OF THE PRINCIPAL KNOWN/ PLACES OF THE EARTH;/ With the Tracks of various Circumnavigators together with/ New Discoveries and Political Alterations down to/ The present PERIOD: 1831/ BY J. WILSON & SONS ALBANY ST. N.Y./ S. Wood & Sons Agents N. York.
Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally restored and revarnished, with the usual remaining expected light toning, wear and restorations to minor scattered cracks and abrasions. Overall retains a golden antique tone with brightly colored geographic entities. Stand generally very good with the usual wear and shrinkage.
Dekker, Elly and van der Krogt, Peter. Globes from the Western World. London: Zwemmer, 1993. pp. 125, 130-33, 139. (illustrating Wilson globe in National Museum of American History)
Fowle, Richard J. “James Wilson’s Globes.” Vermont History, XXVIII. 1960. pp. 245-49.
Haskins, Harold Web. “James Wilson — Globe Maker.” Vermont History, XXVII. 1959. pp. 319-330.
Kimball, LeRoy E. “James Wilson of Vermont, America’s First Globe Maker.” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, Massachusetts: 1938. pp. 29-48.
The Dartmouth Compass. Vol. 1, No. 4, Autumn 1982.
Tyner, Judith. “A World of Their Own, James Wilson and the First American Globe.” Mercator’s World. January/February 1999.
Yonge, Ena L. A Catalogue of Early Globes, Library Series No. 6. American Geographical Society, 1968. p. 69 -70.