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Globe, Miniature, Pocket Globe, Terrestrial with Celestial Case, Antique, Nicolas Lane, London, c. 1830s (Sold)

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Nicolas Lane [and Successors] (act. 1775-1840)
Lane’s Improved Pocket Globe
3-Inch Terrestrial Globe in Celestial Case
London: c. 1830s
Globe in fish skin case with brass fittings

A 3-inch terrestrial pocket globe of typical form, with engraved hand-colored gores and axis pins at the poles. It is contained within a spherical conforming case opening into two concave hemispheres — one with an applied engraved celestial chart of the Northern Sky, the other with an applied Southern Sky celestial chart. The outside of the case is covered with black, pebbled fish skin and the rims of the case are painted green. The two halves are joined with a brass hinge and close with three brass hook-and-eyelet closures. The globe was likely made in about the 1830s, based on scholarship about an identically named “Lane’s Improved Globe” in the Greenwich National Maritime Museum in England (listed as GBL 0012).

Collector Robert Gordon purchased this globe from the George Glazer Gallery and donated it to Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. The Adler arranged for astronaut John Grunsfeld to bring it on a space shuttle mission on December 19, 1999. Read more about that event.

Product description continues below.


In North America, the United States is labeled east of the Mississippi. Louisiana, California and Florida are also labeled. Antarctica is largely unmapped except for a segment of coastline, “Enderbys Land 1833.”

The Lane firm, founded by Nicolas Lane (fl. 1775-1783), was a major producer of pocket globes. The first edition of the terrestrial globe offered here was issued by Lane in 1776. Dekker posits that at that time Lane might have obtained the copper plates for the celestial gores from the Cushee firm of globe makers when it was dissolved around 1775. Various updated pocket globes were produced under the Lane name by his successors during the first half of the 19th century. Read more about Lane in our Guide to Globe Makers.

Circular Cartouche in Yellow Wreath: LANE’s/ Improved/ GLOBE/ LONDON


Dekker, Elly, et al. Globes at Greenwich: A Catalogue of the Globes and Armillary Spheres in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. London: Oxford University Press and the National Maritime Museum, 1999. pp. 54-55, 128-129, 131, 393-394.

Dekker, Elly. “Miniature and Pocket Globes: The Gentleman’s Toy.” in Lamb, Tom and Collins, Jeremy. The World in Your Hands: An Exhibition of Globes and Planetaria. London: Christie’s, 1994. pp. 66, 76.

Additional information

Maker Location



Globe Type

Celestial case, Terrestrial


19th Century