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Globe, Table, 13-Inch Diameter, Celestial, Maple Stand, Antique, James Wilson, Vermont, 1812 (Reserved)

James Wilson
13-inch Celestial Table Globe
[Bradford, Vermont], 1812
Turned maple stand
18 inches high, 18 inches in diameter
Reserved

A rare example of the first American dated and published celestial globe by the father of American globe making James Wilson.

The celestial globe is in a calibrated full brass meridian, surmounted by a brass hour pointer, the horizon band with engraved paper calendar and zodiac, raised on a turned maple stand with four legs joined by an x-form cross stretcher, ending in top-form feet.

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 seven orders of magnitude, along with variable stars and planetary nebulae, according to a key within a small oval above the constellations Bootes. Many individual stars are labeled with Greek letters, and in the case of brighter ones like Capella, with their names. Some of the constellations are hand-colored in shades of gold, green, orange, and gray. The zodiac belt is within a graph-form grid. The ecliptics and equatorial line are graduated; the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are dotted lines.

Product description continues below.

Description

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 his sons expanded it during the following decades, setting up a manufacturing facility as James Wilson & Sons in Albany, New York.

By 1810 Wilson noted sales of his hand-made globes in his account books (Tucker, 273; Haskins, 324; Dartmouth 3). An undated Wilson terrestrial globe in the Vermont Historical Society and another at Harvard University are thought to be examples of the 1810 Wilson terrestrial globes. In 1811, Wilson made the first known published and dated American terrestrial globe. In 1812 he issued the first published and dated American celestial globe of which this offered celestial globe is a rare example

Oval Celestial Cartouche: A NEW/ AMERICAN/ CELESTIAL GLOBE/ Containing the Position of nearly/ 5000 Stars, Clusters, Nebulae, Planetary/ Nebulae &c. Correctly computed & laid down/ from the latest observations and dis-/ coveries by Dr. Maskelyne Dr. Herschel/ the Rev. Mr. Wollaston &c. &c./ By James Wilson/ 1812

References:

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

Maker

Globe Type

Celestial

Material

Wood, Maple, Full meridian