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Globe, American, Rand McNally, Terrestrial American Airlines 12-Inch “Air Globe”, Glass Base, Chicago, c. 1945-61 (Reserved)

This globe is currently on reserve among numerous extremely fine and rare American globes to be sold as a single collection. In the meanwhile, it has been placed here in our Globe Guide section as a service for researchers and collectors.

Browse our currently available Globes & Planetaria or search our site to see globes offered for individual purchase.

P.P. Willis (designer)
Rand McNally & Company (maker)
American Airlines, Inc. (manufactured for)
12-inch Terrestrial “Air Globe”
Chicago: c. 1945-1960
Amethyst glass base
13.5 inches high, overall, 8.5 inches diameter, base

The terrestrial globe has an unusual and innovative design with landmasses having no outlines or shading but rather formed as clusters of place names, mainly of cities. The sphere rests on a round amethyst glass concave dish base, to which it is not attached, so it can be lifted and repositioned. The “Air Globe” was manufactured by Rand McNally as a promotion for American Airlines to show the “Route of the Flagships” of the airline. It was probably intended primarily for display in travel agencies. The sole pictorial elements are an illustration of a four-engine jet plane over the Pacific Ocean and a distance scale showing hours (of flight time) and miles. The globe is black lettering on a cream-colored background, with the airplane illustration lightly shaded a pastel shade of orange.

Product description continues below.


The globe is undated. However, the airplane illustrated is a four-engine propeller plane, and American Airlines is known to have introduced four-engine Douglas DC-4 airplanes to its fleet after the end of World War II, followed soon after by the similar-looking DC-6. Also in 1945, American Airlines introduced international service to Europe after acquiring American Export Airlines and renaming it American Overseas Airways. The presence of Stalingrad in Russia, later renamed Volgograd, dates the globe to prior to 1961. The designer of the globe, Paul Peter Willis was an advertising executive for American Airlines. He was also the author of book published in 1940 by Prentice-Hall that promoted American Airlines for commercial air travel: Your Future Is In the Air: The Story of How American Airlines Made People Air-Travel Conscious.

For more information about Rand McNally, see our Guide to Globe Makers.

Cartouche: Rand McNally/ AIR GLOBE/ Designed by P.P. Willis/ Diameter 12 Inches/ [scale with Hours and Miles]/ Copyright by RAND McNally & COMPANY, Chicago/ for AMERICAN AIRLINES Inc./ Route of the Flagships/ Made in U.S.A. 

Amethyst glass base with white lettering: AMERICAN AIR LINES, Inc./ ROUTE OF THE FLAGSHIPS

Condition: Generally very good, with the usual light scattered, soiling, wear and abrasions, all professionally restored.


“History of American Airlines.” Wikipedia. 24 November 2022. (24 January 2023).

Additional information

Maker Location


Globe Type



Wood, Mahogany