The land masses are depicted with detailed cartography, colored in shades of yellow, pink, green, orange and purple, all faded. Oceans are colored blue, which has yellowed with time. Mean isothermal lines for January and July are colored respectively blue and red, ocean currents are shown with white wavy lines and with arrows indicating warm or cold currents. Submarine telegraph cables are indicated by hatched lines, and the International Date Line is in red. Oklahoma is shown as a state, indicating a date after 1907, and St. Petersburg is shown indicating a date of 1914 or before.
The distinctive Empire style stand was frequently used from about the turn of the century through the 1920s on globes manufactured by Johnston, sometimes in partnership with American school supply company, A.J. Nystrom. In 1925, a similar Empire stand was marketed as the “Superb Library Globe … The finest piece of workmanship ever produced in the [Johnston] globe line [and] as essential in a library as a dictionary or encyclopedia.” A.J. Nystrom & Co., 1925 Anniversary Catalog, C-25.
W. & A.K. Johnston was among the most important figures in the production of globes in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Although a British manufacturer, they were highly influential in producing globes to be sold in America under the Johnston name, or under the name of American globe makers and school supply houses. William (1802-1888) and Alexander Keith (1804-1871) Johnston began as apprentices to the Scottish globe maker and publisher James Kirkwood (fl. 1774-1824). After a fire at the Kirkwood’s Edinburgh workshop, they set up their own workshop. Their largest globe was a 30-inch diameter physical terrestrial globe which won a number of medals at the Great Exhibition. They received a royal appointment, hence the cartouche of their 18-inch globes is surmounted by the royal coat of arms. W. & A.K. Johnston’s business was continued well into the early 20th century, often with strategic business relationships with most of the major American Chicago globe makers, including A.H. Andrews, Rand McNally, Weber Costello, and A.J. Nystrom. These American globe makers and school supply houses often sold Johnston globes with an over-label pasted over the Johnston label. In that case, the royal coat of arms that surmounted the round cartouche often still showed. Johnston’s globes were very popular for school use in the United States, and were also exported to America for home libraries.
Overlabel Circular Cartouche Surmounted by Coat of Arms: 18 INCH/ TERRESTRIAL GLOBE,/ by/ W. & A. K. JOHNSTON,/ LIMITED/ Geographers, Engravers & Printers/ EDINBURGH/ and/ LONDON
Key Below Cartouche:
Railways shewn thus [dashed line]/ Submarine Telegraph Cables thus, …Black/ Mean Isothermal lines for January …Blue/ Mean Isothermal lines for July …Red / International Date Line [heavy red line]/ Warm Currents, Cold Currents [indicated by arrows]/ COPYRIGHT By W. & A. K. JOHNSTON LTD.
Meridian Stamped: PAT. NOV. 14 – 1899