Global Advantage: Antique Globes

March 1st, 2013 | posted by Bill Rau
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Globes, such as this pair of 18″ examples from J.& W. Cary, afforded their owner a wealth of information right at their fingertip.

Arguably the most valuable tool in business today is the computer. Within seconds, an entrepreneur can answer any question, accessing information from around the world. For the 19th-century businessman, the globe often served that same role.

In matters of commerce, especially shipping, geography and exploration, the globe was an invaluable asset when determining the best and most cost effective ways to get your goods from one point to another. Accuracy and timely information meant everything, and firms such as John Newton & Son, John and William Cary, and Dudley Adams excelled at crafting globes that were as technically precise as they were beautiful.

A good cartographer encompassed the qualities of an artist, engraver, geographer and even an astronomer. Bodies of water, mountain ranges, major land routes, islands, constellations, planets and a host of other topographical and celestial elements necessary for navigation were rendered with incredible precision, based upon the findings of such notable explorers as Captain George Vancouver and Captain James Cook. This stunning pair of Rare 18-Inch Cary Globes are a perfect example of the craftsmanship and meticulousness afforded to these elegant spheres. Such superior globes were also outfitted with additional navigational instruments. For instance, the terrestrial globe features an analemma, which provided a scale of the Sun’s daily declination, while brass meridian and horizon rings on each globe notate monthly and astrological calendars. Their handsome mahogany bases even have integrated working compasses.

To own a globe was to have a bounty of information at your fingertips. Though our computers and smart phones may have the advantage of speed, none of our clever electronic devices can be referred to as a true work of art.

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