The inner side of zodiac band has an applied paper label “Dono Semigratuito del Secolo,” loosely translated meaning “discounted gift of Il Secolo.” Il Secolo was an Italian newspaper published in Milan between 1866 and 1927. In other words, the globe was available at a reduced price from the newspaper as a promotional item. Its style and materials of manufacture suggest it was made around the turn of the century.
In the 19th century, armillary spheres were popular astronomical demonstration devices, though the Copernican theory, in which the planets were understood to rotate around the sun, had by then replaced the Ptolemaic idea that the earth was the center of the universe. For more general information about armillary spheres see our Globe Glossary.
Molinengo, Alessandro. E-mail correspondence to George Glazer Gallery. 17 September 2009.