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Globe, American, Wilson, Terrestrial World, 13-Inch Table Globe, 4-Leg Stand, Antique, Bradford, VT, 1811 (Reserved)

James Wilson
13-inch Terrestrial Table Globe
[Bradford, Vermont]: 1811
Turned maple stand
18 inches high, 18 inches in diameter

• This globe is currently on reserve among numerous extremely fine and rare American globes to be sold as a single collection. Meanwhile it has been placed here in our American Globe Guide as a service for researchers and collectors.
• Visit our Globes and Planetaria section to see globes offered for individual purchase.

A rare example of the first dated commercially published American terrestrial globe by James Wilson, known as America’s first globe maker.

The terrestrial globe is in a calibrated full brass meridian, the horizon band with engraved paper calendar and zodiac, raised on a turned figured maple stand with four legs joined by an x-form cross stretcher, ending in top-form feet. Geography includes countries, major cities, rivers, and shaded mountain ranges. Oceans are tan, countries and U.S. states are shaded green and tan, with some of the states outlined in red. The edges of the continents are highlighted with hatch marks. The equator and ecliptic are graduated and numbered. There is an elongated oval 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.

The United States includes only the states east of the Mississippi, with west of the Mississippi divided into two regions, the eastern portion labeled Louisiana and shaded green, the southwestern portion labeled New Albion and New Mexico, the northwest left blank except some coastal locations. Australia is labeled “New Holland” with Tasmania labeled Van Dieman’s Land. Antarctica is labeled Antarctic Ocean and is unmapped, with a few regions labeled as having “many Islands & fields of broken Ice,” reflecting geographic knowledge at the time. Tracks of Cook’s voyages are indicated, with the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii) labeled “Owhyhee, here the celebrated Cap’n Cook lost his life Feb. 14 1779.”

Product description continues below.


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.

By 1810 Wilson noted sales of his hand-made globes in his account books (Tucker, 273; Haskins, 324; Dartmouth 3). An undated Wilson terrestrial globe in the Vermont Historical Society and another at Harvard University are thought to be examples of the 1810 Wilson terrestrial globes. In 1811, Wilson made the first known published and dated American terrestrial globe of which this is an example In 1812 he issued the first published and dated American celestial globe shown elsewhere on this website.

Read more about the firm on our Guide to Globe Makers.

Oval Celestial Cartouche: A NEW/ AMERICAN/ TERRESTRIAL GLOBE/ on which the/ PRINCIPAL PLACES of the/ KNOWN WORLD/ are ACCURATELY laid down/ with the traced attempts/ of CAPTAIN COOK to/ discover a Southern Continent/ by/ JAMES WILSON/ 1811

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. 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.

Additional information

Maker Location


Globe Type



Wood, Maple


19th Century