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Globe, American, Wilson, Terrestrial World, 13-Inch Table Globe, Tripod Stand, Antique, Albany, NY, 1825 (Reserved)

James Wilson & Sons
13-inch Terrestrial Table Globe
Albany: 1825
Hardwood stand
29 inches high, 18 inches 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 an early American terrestrial globe by James Wilson, known as America’s first globe maker.

A tall terrestrial table globe in a calibrated full brass meridian, surmounted by a brass hour pointer, the horizon band with engraved paper calendar and zodiac supported by four quadrants joined at the central turned cylindrical standard, raised on a tripod hardwood stand (probably mahogany and stained maple or cherry), the downswept shaped legs joined by compass stretcher with glazed round wooden compass case enclosing a paper compass card and magnetized metal needle, ending in simple down-curved feet. The meridian is fitted with a brass clamp which can be moved to point to any specific line of degrees. The sliding clamp can be tightened with a small thumbscrew.

Product description continues below.


Geography includes countries, major cities, rivers, and shaded mountain ranges. Oceans are tan, countries are shaded yellow, green, and red with darker heavy outlines. The edges of the continents are highlighted with hatch marks. The equator, ecliptic, the Greenwich meridian and the meridian 90 degrees from it are graduated and numbered, with the ecliptic highlighted in green. Ocean currents are indicated with arrows. The United States includes only the states east of the Mississippi, with west of the Mississippi divided into two regions, the northern portion labeled “Missouri Ter’y,” the southern portion 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 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.

Terrestrial Cartouche: A NEW AMERICAN THIRTEEN 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: 1825/ BY J. WILSON & SONS ALBANY ST. N.Y.

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 bright color. Stand generally very good with the usual wear and shrinkage. Compass restored with replacements.


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