On the celestial globe, the constellations, including zodiac signs, are well delineated and elegantly depicted as figures from Greek mythology, animals, and scientific instruments. The stars are shown to six orders of magnitude, along with variable stars and planetary nebulae, according to a key within a small rectangle between the constellations Vulpecula and Pegasus. Many individual stars are labeled with Greek letters, and in the case of brighter ones like Regulus, with their names. Some of the constellations are hand-colored in shades of brown, green, orange, red, and gray. The edges of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles are shaded brown. The ecliptics and equatorial line are rendered as dashed lines.
This pair of globes was originally mounted on a pair of painted carved wooden Corinthian columns for use in a Masonic temple. They have now been adapted as table globes retaining the original brass half meridians, but on later table stands. As is typical with Masonic globes they are not signed by a globe maker. Nonetheless, the terrestrial globe appears to have identical globe gores to a Franklin Terrestrial Globe having the following cartouche: “THE FRANKLIN/ TERRESTRIAL/ GLOBE/ 10 INCHES IN DIAMETER CONTAINING ALL THE/ Geographical Divisions/ & POLITICAL BOUNDARIES/ to the present date/ carefully compiled from the best Authorities/ H.B. Nims & Co./ Troy N.Y.” Franklin Globes were produced throughout the second half of the 19th century in Troy, New York, by a succession of globe makers and booksellers: Merriam & Moore (c. 1848-52), Merriam Moore & Co. (1852-58), Moore & Nims (1858-68), H.B. Nims & Co. (1869-85), Nims & Knight (1886-89), and back to H.B. Nims & Co. (1890-96). Based on the above cartouche, this pair can be attributed to H.B. Nims & Co. They more likely would have been made in the earlier phase of H.B. Nims (1869-1885) rather than the later phase (1890-96) insofar as they show Oklahoma in its entirety as Indian Territory (1890 or earlier) and Dakota as a single territory (prior to 1889 statehood). The date of manufacture can be further narrowed down to after 1879 insofar as they include the transatlantic cable between the U.S. and France.
Documented extant Franklin Masonic globes are scarce, but they appeared in company advertisements. For example, the H.B. Nims & Company 1895-96 catalog offered a pair shown in a small schematic illustration of two columns decorated with Masonic symbols, each topped by a sphere with longitude and latitude lines, accompanied by this text:
MASONIC GLOBES. For Masonic Lodges we furnish simply the Terrestrial and Celestial Balls, with the maps colored and varnished. They are usually placed on the top of columns, as represented in the cut. 12-inch Terrestrial and Celestial, per pair, $10.00. 10-inch Terrestrial and Celestial, per pair, $8.00.
More information about Franklin Globes and H.B. Nims can be found in our Guide to Globe Makers.
Historical and Geographical Inscriptions (as written, including punctuation):
The Pacific Ocean was discovered by Balboa in 1513. First navigated by Magellan in 1520 It extends from North to South 7500 miles and from East to west 10000 miles
The Republic of Liberia extends along the west coast of Africa from the Gallinas river 420 miles SE to the San Pedro with an average breadth inland of 10 miles comprising an area of 16,800 Square miles
In the year 1815 the late Emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte was brought to St. Helena. In 1821 he died and was buried there In 1840 his remains were conveyed to France in the frigate Belle Poule under the command of Prince de Joinville
Capt. Cook killed here Feb. 14th 1779
Condition: Each generally very good with the usual toning, wear, and soiling, but retaining an overall deep rich color tone. Each with some scattered, cracks, abrasions, and losses, all professionally restored.
Catalogue of School, Family and Library Globes, Dictionary, Holders, Library and Stationery Specialties. Troy, New York: H.B. Nims & Company, 1895-96, p. 3.
Glover, Bill. “History of the Atlantic Cable & Submarine Telegraphy Cable Timeline: 1845-1900.” Atlantic Cable. 5 November 2005. http://atlantic-cable.com/Cables/CableTimeLine/index1850.htm (7 October 2019).