Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Future of Globes - In Space & On Earth

In the previous post, we mentioned the origin of world globes – how the earliest record of world globes of Crates of Mallus dating around 150 BC (celestial globes are said to have been invented even earlier). Globes were created to enable us to understand our home world better.  It has been more than two thousand years since then. Globes have come a long way from this:

Crates Terrestrial Sphere
World Globe of Crates of Mallus (around 150 BC).

To this:

Google Earth
Google Earth

From "high-touch" to "high-tech" virtual globes. If science-fiction movies are proven right, and we get to go to other planets, world (and other planet) globes and star maps would be much more sophisticated than Google Earth.

Console of Prometheus' recon ship
Console of the recon ship (Prometheus Movie)

Given more advanced technology, we might even get to make something as magical as this:

The Engineers control room (Prometheus Movie)
The Engineers' control room (Prometheus Movie)

A Space-ial Future

Yes, if space is the future of mankind, space is also the future of world globes. In fact, globes were used by astronauts (especially Soviet cosmonauts) in the Space Race as navigation equipment:

Voskhod spacecraft IMP 'Globus' navigation instrument, full view
Voskhod spacecraft IMP 'Globus' navigation instrument

But no amount of sophistication can replace the sentimental value of a simple globe. Look at this glimpse into the life of astronauts at the International Space Station:

Notice the classroom globe at 1:59 of the clip:

Classroom Globe at upper left
You can also see a model earth at 4:18-4:21 of this clip:

At this time, sophisticated onboard maps and virtual globes in laptops are already available to the astronauts/cosmonauts. Why bother to take a bulky model of the earth with you? Even the planned Russian Commercial Space Station has a globe in it:

computer generated view of the inside of the Commercial Space Station
Russian Commercial Space Station

No space like home

Yup, it's about homesickness. Globes are simple, powerful mementos of home. On leaving, people want to bring a little something they can touch to remind them of home, of where they came from, of who they are. Touch is a very human thing. No amount of features and virtuality can replace the draw of something you can  hold and touch. Even a modern, computerized virtual globe such as this aspires to be touched:

Interactive Globus

If you're leaving the earth (even if only for the neighborhood space), what better keepsake to bring to remind you of earth than a touchable model earth – even one as simple as a classroom globe?

Waypoint Geographic Earth & Constellations Globe

Teach children of home, so when they leave, they won't forget who they are.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Raised Relief - A Valuable Feature on World Globes for Teaching

Raised relief globes can be a valuable tool to help your children learn the sometimes difficult and challenging school lessons in geography.  As our world becomes increasingly dependent on the Internet, the professional corporate working environment is becoming increasingly more diverse.  We are no longer relegated to working with only people who reside in her immediate local communities.  The use of world globes can help your children learn the locations of the many different countries around the world at a much faster rate.

Example of Raised Relief

How do raise relief globes differ?

This type of globe differs slightly from a traditional version in that the surface of the globe will have smooth and bumpy surfaces.  For example, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans will be smooth to the touch, depicting the even and flat surface of a body of water.  Mountain ranges will jut out slightly, providing a “raised” sensation as your child runs his or her fingers over this area. 

Carlyle Globe
Carlyle Globe w/Raised Relief
By combining the added benefits of learning through “touch” and “sight “ to the traditional forms of learning that include memorizing facts, learning about geography is not only more fun for children but significantly more interesting.  Studies have proven that raised relief world globes have increased students learning retention in the classroom by alarming percentages.  The differences in elevations between different the many areas of the globe help young children to better interpret what the real world is actually like.

Raise relief globes are highly detailed

Generally speaking, raise relief world globes tend to be significantly higher in detail then other types of globe from generations past.  All versions are almost always round, spinning on a slanted axis, as opposed to a book Atlas or flat, folded map which only consists of two dimensions.  Of course, children tend to find the spinning globe infinitely more interesting and fun.  They also allow the child to more easily determine the distances between countries, states, cities, continents, lakes, oceans, mountains, and rivers in relation to where they are currently living today.

People learn in different ways, and children are no different.  Some people are very gifted memorizing facts and details, while others are more visual and require more “hands on” learning techniques.  This is partially why children are being taught computers and the Internet from a very early age, perhaps as early as first or second grade in some cases.  Teachers are well aware that children need diversity in learning methods.  As long as our computer screens remain flat and two-dimensional, raised relief globes will always be a useful and attractive tool for professional teachers of all grades.

I see London, I see France….

Even before children enter into grammar school, they are being taught nursery rhymes that have been recited over and over for centuries.  Even our fairy tales very often begin with the phrase, “Long, long ago, in a land far away…”.  This can be misleading to a small child.  For example, if you happen to live in Northern California and the youngster is learning about the Cold War era between the United States and Russia, they might easily mistake the notion that Russia is clear on the other side of the world rather than in their own backyard.  Raised relief world globes are still used today in classrooms across the world, largely for this very reason.

Raised relief globes can teach about the changes in season

Professional grammar school teachers will always attest to the fact that the use of world globes in the classroom is the best method for teaching their young scholars about the reasons for the changes in season.  Nearly every globe that is manufactured is designed in such a way that the earth is depicted as tilted on its axis, just as it is in real life.  The equator will be clearly shown as well.  Teachers can more easily explain that when it is summertime in Omaha, it is actually wintertime in Sydney, Australia.  Learning about the changes of season can sometime be very difficult for young minds to grasp without the use of classroom globes.

Different types of world globes

As the child continues through grammar school, into middle school, high school, and college, the classroom globe tends to change slightly, depicting more and more information.  Time zones, longitudes, and latitudes are usually shown on these more detailed versions of globes.  Examples of why this would be useful include studies of the American Civil War where the Mason-Dixon Line was an integral part of history.  Longitude and latitude lines also came into play when the layout of the individual states of America were determined.  As we grow into adulthood, many of these early lessons become almost instinctual.  We tend to forget how and when we learned them in our formative years.  The educational benefit for the use of world globes in the classroom cannot go unnoticed.

Continue the education! Check out 1,000s of world globes and maps at!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaching Children Lessons using a Globe

Children ask a lot of questions. That's what children do. Consequently, childhood is the best time to teach young people about the world. And what better teaching aid is there about the world than a world globe? Their ball-like shape and beautiful colors make them a fun way of teaching geography.

However many, if not most, children get to see globes only at school. The bulkiness of educational globes is a factor against them being at many homes – especially for families that move around a lot. But there are now children's globes that double as a fun toy. If they are treated as toys with educational and sentimental value, children's globes would more likely survive a move.
XXL Children's Puzzle Globe (180 pieces)
Children's Puzzle Globe

Teaching Ancestry

But, whether you are a teacher or a parent, take the time to teach children about the world through globes. You'll be amazed at the variety of lessons you can teach by using a globe as starting point. For example, you can teach your children what part of the world their extended family came from or where friends of various nationalities have moved from.

While the information you get with globes is mainly current (and can be updated), children might ask you questions the answers to which are not found in globes. For example, questions like "who invented world globes?" Here's a quick answer.

Globe Inventor

Most sources agree the man who made the first recorded globe is Crates of Mallus – now Kiziltahta, Adana Province, Turkey – in 150 BC (you might need a very large globe to find this). This information comes from the first volume of Strabo's Geographica, first published in 7 BC. Although we don't have pictures of Crates, here's how the very first recorded world globe is supposed to look like:
Crates Terrestrial Sphere
World Globe of Crates of Mallus (around 150 BC).
Understandably, since there were still many lands the Greeks didn't know (but just hypothesized) about, this globe is a far cry from our modern globes but you can already discern Europe, Greece and the British Islands.

Start them young

By all means, start your kids early on globes. Let globes become a way of teaching children valuable lessons through stories. Break the cycle of geographic illiteracy in children. Or else, someone else might teach geography to them – and not in a good way.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Choosing Between types of World Globes for Educational Purposes

World globes come in a variety of different sizes and styles while also being possibly manufactured out of different types of materials.  The types and amounts of information located on each type of globe will vary as well.  Even the colors may be different, depending on its intended educational or decorative use.  If you are trying to choose between these many diverse types of globes, it might seem a bit of a challenge.  But here are three simple steps that you should consider that might make shopping for an interesting world globe infinitely easier.

Livingston Globe
Livingston Globe
Why are you buying a globe in the first place?

In other words, what is its intended purpose?  Are you using it for decoration?  Will it be used as an educational tool for your children?  Perhaps you’re using it in your professional business environment?  Where many consumers fail is in assuming that all world globes are alike.  Teachers will often use a globe in the classroom to discuss geographic principles and boundaries of countries.  You might be surprised to learn that there are also other types of globes that are designed to show how the earth was divided into countries during other previous times throughout history.  After all, in the 1400’s before Christopher Columbus landed in America, the world looked very different with very altered political boundaries. 

Of course, you don’t have to buy a globe simply for educational purposes.  Many of these impressive round atlases can add a very decorative aesthetic to your room, home, or office.  Thanks to the many advancements in manufacturing technology, you can now buy world globes that are transparent in background, that light up and illuminate, that sit on the floor, and even ones that function as hiding places for your wine and liquor.  This type of globe is a great conversation starter, too. You can buy globes that talk, play games, and act as piggy banks for children of all ages.

What type of theme you like best?

As we stated earlier, there are many different types of designs, including modern, historical, novelty, and children’s versions.  The modern world globes can take many forms, but perhaps the most common is the blue ocean globe with some other minor variations.   Each individual country tends to be shown in a different color, with major cities, rivers, oceans, and capitals typically be shown as well.  Of course, another type of modern style is oceans shown in black rather than blue.

If you are going for a more vintage appeal, perhaps because you live in an older Victorian home, for example, then the historical themed “old world globe” might be a good choice.  Very often these have the appearance of a parchment brown color, sometimes depicting famous discoveries, ocean routes, and other famous voyages that took place during a very specific time in history.  The interesting thing about these types of globes are that the boundaries of the individual countries will look very different than they are today.  These make a great choice for “history buffs” who spend hours and hours talking about World War I or the American Civil War, for example.

Where are you planning to place it?

Of course, if you have a very large room, then you might want to purchase a very large globe.  But world globes come in a variety of different sizes, most generally between 3 inches to 24 inches in diameter.  The average standard size of globes is 12 inches in diameter.  So, as you can see, your options are nearly unlimited.

Munich Floor Globe
Munich Floor Globe
Before you purchase, plan the precise location that you plan to place your world globe.  Will it be placed on your desk?  Will it be the centerpiece of a conversation area?  Will it be placed in your den, doubling as a perfect hiding spot for your favorite Brandy or Cabernet?  The average size for a floor globe is typically 16 inches in diameter, however these can increase in size significantly.  Of course, as the size increases, so does the price in most cases.

World globes are not only a wonderful educational tool, they clearly make wonderful additions to any interior space.  A beautifully decorated home with an impressive antique style floor globe tends to lend a sense of worldliness and distinction to those who reside within the residence. Globes carry with them an inherent sense of knowledge and excellence, distinguishing the homeowner from other common men.  Whether you are a teacher in the classroom or simply a home decorator with excellent taste, a globe can make a terrific addition to any interior home or office.  Check out our many selections and styles at

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to get the most Educational use out of World Globes

Flat, folded maps are perfectly fine, but nothing replaces the educational benefits of having impressive and highly detailed world globes.  In this day and age of Google Earth, many feel that the younger generation is simply missing out.  After all, the earth is round.  Therefore, viewing the world through a traditional flat map or atlas very often tends to lose something in translation.

Map-makers mean well, but….

Professional cartographers have taken great strides in attempting to make flat maps and online versions appear as accurately as possible to globes.  They slice around the top and the bottom of the earth, signifying the north and south poles, in an attempt to try to make the entire map look more visually proportional.  But it never really quite works.

Lafayette Floor Standing Blue Ocean Globe
Lafayette Blue Ocean Globe
Another issue is that whichever country lies to the left side of the map appears thousands of miles away from the countries on the right.  Flat maps simply play tricks on the mind.    The 3-D effect of traditional world globes tend to help both children and adults alike to better visualize how one area of the world relates to another.

Furthermore, when you try to flatten out the earth to an onscreen version provided by Google, certain portions of the geography will need to be stretched in order to make the entire image fit onto the screen.  This is very misleading.  Because the Earth is round, the middle portion around the equator is actually a bit “puffed out”.  It is impossible to clearly depict this rounding effect on a flat map.  Globes simply provide significantly better educational benefits.

Other distortions and misinformation

The only way to make a flat map work is to basically shrink some areas while expanding others.  This provides a completely skewed view of the world as a whole.  Nothing replaces the traditional world globes for providing the most concise and clear view.  Remember back to grammar school when you were first looking at your teachers’ Mercator maps that hung on the wall?  Very often, you would look at the United States in comparison to individual countries of Africa, and the United States always looked enormous.

This is not actually true.  The map-makers had to slightly alter the geography in order to get everything to fit on a flat map.  The reason that your teacher used these maps was because, back then, globes came in a very limited selection of sizes.  Today, our options are much more diverse.

Global popularity on the rise

The popularity of world globes for the home, in particular, has been growing substantially in recent years as parents are becoming more and more involved with the education of their children.  Another
Waypoint Geographic Navigator Globe
Navigator Blue Ocean Globe
reason for this rise in popularity is that globes are now more easily available for purchase and in an infinite variety of styles, colors, and sizes.  In previous generations, the options were severely limited to the traditional plastic globe of approximately 12 inches in diameter.  Now, homeowners can buy modern styles, historical designs, versions that light up and speak, and even world globes that play games with your children.

There is a wonderful scene in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.  The aliens made contact with Earth by communicating via satellite a particular set of Earth coordinates.  The scientists and government officials race to a nearby office, in the hope of locating one of the office globes on property.  By using the longitude and latitude lines clearly depicted, they were able to precisely locate the intended destination for meeting our alien friends.  A globe simply provides a wide array of educational benefits that cannot clearly be depicted or learned from a traditional flat map or atlas.

Endless varieties

Luckily we live in an age where the manufacturing possibilities for world globes allows for them to be produced in a variety of different designs and applications.  No longer must we submit to having their traditional classroom variety located in our impeccably designed interiors of our homes and offices.  You can now purchase pieces of furniture that are formed like globes, perhaps as a mobile bar or saloon that houses your favorite wines and liquors.  There are numerous variety of bookends that are shaped like a globe, and you can even purchase an inflatable version for playing in pools and parks.

There are constellation globes and space globes, where the earth is not depicted at all.  What is clearly shown instead are the star patterns as they are located to specific points on the earth’s geography.  Check out our catalog online at

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why Globes Should be in Schools and Homes

GeoSafari Talking Globe Jr.
GeoSafari Talking Globe Jr

The two biggest characteristics of well-made globes are:
  1. They are beautiful.
  2. They are educational.
This is because great map and globe makers, like Vincenzo Coronelli, were not only good at science – they were also good at the arts. You could say they are the Michelangelos or Leonardo da Vincis of the cartographic scene.

Vincenzo Coronelli
And indeed they were expected to be very very good. In the age of exploration, the information put into globes and maps were oftentimes obtained at great cost (funding for voyages of exploration were mainly bets on the hope of getting profits many times larger than the investment). The only ones who could afford good globes before the Industrial Revolution were people of the highest standards and exacting tastes – kings and princes, lords and ladies. Hence, globes (and their makers) were expected to be the best money can buy. (The same thing could also be said of early clocks and watches.)

Consequently, early globes were also one of the earliest advertising and promotional tools for advancing various agenda – bolstering imperial claims, showing the intellect and skill of the makers and their owners, and tempting potential investors to fund more expeditions. That's why, in older globes made when there were still undiscovered lands, these unknown lands (terra incognita) were drawn with the aid of old stories and legends and the imagination – and often embellished with people and creatures and riches designed to attract those wishing to make handsome profits. The age of exploration created a demand for good quality maps and globes.

The tradition of accurate and beautiful maps and globes never died out. By the time cheap, mass produced maps and globes could be had, these retained the same high standards of accuracy and artistry of their earlier prototypes. By then, there were very little undiscovered places left. And what was left for most people was to learn about known places so they could be familiar with countries and peoples outside their own borders.

This is where school globes come in. They teach children about the various known places on earth, teaching them where they are and, hopefully, instilling in them a desire to find their place in this world. If globes also awaken the love of travel in children, the better. Traveling changes a person's perspective – hence the expression "broadening one's horizons." Travel – or at least a healthy knowledge of people and places outside one's own – reduces fears and xenophobia. Globes then, are tools for global understanding – leading, hopefully, to a more peaceful world. The earlier you start introducing kids to globes, the better (no matter how small) the chances for world peace will be.

If you have a globe in your home, don't wait for your kids to go to school before they learn about globes. Like kindness, the knowledge of the world should start at home.

Waypoint Geographic Scout Globes

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Around the Globe with Jules Verne

Around the World in Eighty Days book cover by Scott McKowen

I just love the cover of the Sterling Unabridged Classics edition of Jules Verne's 'Around the World in Eighty Days', featuring a beautiful scratchboard style illustration of a globe by Scott McKowen.

The three legs and the full meridian suggest a floor globe but the legs are too short and the meridian is too thick to be a floor globe so it could be a desktop globe (up to 11 inches across) or tabletop globe (12+ inches across)

A floor globe would have longer legs and thinner meridian, like the Queen Anne Globe:
queen anne floor globe
Replogle Queen Anne Globe 16-inch Floor Standing

queen anne globe in a living room
How the Queen Anne Globe might look in one's living room.
This is a 32-inch tall beauty, 16 inches across, its graceful legs polished to a cherry finish.

An even bigger floor globe would have a more squat proportion, like the Diplomat Globe:
replogle diplomat globe
Replogle Diplomat Globe 32-inch Illuminated Floor Standing
Standing at 51 inches tall, 32 inches across (twice the width of the Queen Anne), with over 20,000 place names, this is a very detailed beast – the world's most detailed globe in fact. Note the thin-looking legs and the thin meridian in proportion to the globe. In general, this is because the globe enlarged without adding much to the weight, so the pedestal legs didn't have to thicken (they just needed to add a fifth "leg" to support the meridian) and the meridian stayed thin like that in the Queen Anne.

Nevertheless, the Verne cover illustration is beautiful – the globe's colors and style remind me of a tabletop gemstone globe. In fact, had it been colored lighter and bluer, its pedestal made of wood, and its compass removed, this black opalite tabletop gemstone globe would have looked like the globe in the cover:
black opalite gemstone globe
Black Opalite Gemstone Globe 13-inch Commander Gold Stand

The Verne Identity

Back to Jules Verne, writer and translator Ron Miller has a list debunking almost all the things we think we know about Verne ("we" being at least the English speakers):

  1. No balloon voyage in "Around the World in Eighty Days"
  2. He was not a children's book writer. He was that rare combination of a good history and science researcher (especially geography) and an adventure writer. His translators were the children's book writers
  3. Verne was not an armchair adventurer, he was a traveler.
  4. He was not a plagiarizer of American Dime novels
  5. He was not a science-fiction writer, he was a writer about various places on earth – 'geografiction', if you will.
  6. He did not invent the periscope, neither did he predict nuclear energy.

He loved geography though – he must have loved globes. An Indian educational supply seller has neatly outlined why globes are fascinating for both the young and old: A globe enables us to see the position and relative size of a place in a fairly accurate way, and it allows our imaginations to run free – a must-have for any imaginative writer like Verne.

The Verne Legacy

Verne's imagination not only took us places around the world, it took us under the oceans (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), under the continents (Journey to the Center of the Earth), to the skies (Robur the Conqueror), to the moon (From the Earth to the Moon), and back .

jules verne twenty thousand leagues under the sea titlepiece
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
jules verne journey to the center of the earth book cover
Journey to the Center of the Earth
jules verne robur the conqueror titlepiece
Robur the Conqueror
jules verne from the earth to the moon book cover
From the Earth to the Moon

Wikipedia lists a 'Who's Who' of famous people inspired by Jules Verne's works. Here are some of them:

Science: Simon Lake (submarine designer), William Beebe (naturalist), Sir Ernest Shackleton (explorer), Robert Ballard (oceanographer), Jacques Cousteau (ocean explorer)

Literature: Arthur Rimbaud (poet), Jean Cocteau (novelist), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (writer of The Little Prince), Arthur C. Clarke (science-fiction writer).

Verne Flame

Perhaps the greatest acknowledgement to Jules Verne's influence was voiced by French general Hubert Lyautey. When a civil servant tried to belittle his plans by saying "All this, sir, it's like doing a Jules Verne." Lyautey replied "Yes, sir, it's like doing a Jules Verne, because for twenty years, the people who move forward have been doing a Jules Verne."

Yes, with the aid of a globe or not, reach out, move forward – and do a Jules Verne.

jules verne tomb

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Global Puzzle

from Through the Looking Glass (1871) illustrated by John Tenniel

The nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty was originally a riddle

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

The answer is an egg and, for a long time, Humpty Dumpty stood for something that, once broken up, can never be made whole again. Unless that thing was meant to be broken up in order to be put together again – a jigsaw puzzle.

There are a lot of flat (2D) Humpty Dumpty themed jig-saw puzzles but surprisingly, a search for "3D humpty dumpty puzzle" didn't turn up a single actual working example. I had better luck on "egg puzzle":
from Marcus' Puzzle Games

from Puzzling Puzzles of Australia

Egg Puzzle Plan from Cornerstone Designs

Probably the reason why there's not much Humpty Dumpty 3D puzzles is that you need older kids to complete these puzzles – they would just be choking hazards for kids of nursery rhyme age.

This is also why the Puzzle Globe, the only 3D jigsaw puzzle in  Ultimate Globes' Classroom Globes collection, is recommended only for kids 8 and up:

This puzzle is solved by putting the curved pieces together again, like thick eggshells
XXL Childrens Puzzle Globe 8-inch (180 pieces)
Obviously, solving this involves a good knowledge of geography and good eye-hand coordination – or at least you'll have those skills by the time you're able to solve the puzzle.

Wikipedia fans had a much smaller globe puzzle at the 2007 Wikimania. This was a 3-inch 3D version of the Wikipedia logo.

There's nothing like a challenging puzzle to help instill those geography lessons. Let the Puzzle Globe put you up to the challenge.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Have a Piece of Earth

Time for something light – and edible.

Australian wildlife conservationist, Rhiannon, has a baking blog named Cakecrumbs, and she has posted fun globe cakes she made that even show the planet's inner core.

Earth Cake

This was made as a challenge from her sister, who teaches at elementary. Her sister wanted a fun way of teaching kids about the earth and what's inside it. At first Rhiannon thought she couldn't do it (she didn't have hemispheric tins of varying sizes), but she managed to solve the problem.

The result was the Earth Structural Layer Cake:

This edible world globe is just half of a sphere (the kids were too few to warrant a whole globe) but the degree of geographic detail is amazing for a cake. There are no latitude and longitude lines and no place names but, considering the cutting out of the fondant map, and painting in the details with gel paste took six hours, the cake would have been spoiled by the time she finished painting in the last place name and grid line. And I doubt a globe cake would look mouth-watering with black grid lines on it.

But the real beauty of Rhiannon's world globe cake is what's inside:

This globe cake is so anatomically correct that it even shows the inner core (vanilla buttercake), outer core (lemon Madeira sponge), mantle (orange Madeira sponge), and crust (chocolate buttercream) when you slice it. The oceans and landmasses were made of marshmallow fondant.

Compare that to the usual globe cake (picture from Liz Shim's blog):

Liz Shim says this cake was made for her friend Scott, who was to travel in 11 countries around the world. Globes are really great going-away presents – especially if you can eat them too.

Like Rhiannon's globe cake, the actual cake is just the top half, the lower half is just a haf-hemisphere base covered with the same fondant ocean as the cake.

But, lest you think you can only make half a globe out of cake, I'm proud to say Rhiannon succeeded with making a whole globe, this time it's of Jupiter:

Armed with her experience on the Earth Cake (and her penchant for accuracy), Rhiannon's Jupiter Cake is a marvel of painstaking patience. The painting of the surface with ivory marshmallow fondant and ivory, maroon and brown edible inks took 8 hours.

Just look at the Great Red Spot:

And even the layers are now more properly spaced than that of the Earth Cake (the outer core on that one tended to thin out at the top):

The Jupiter Cake's rocky core is of mudcake (chocolate, I hope), surrounded by almond butter cake (to represent the next layer of liquid metallic hydrogen), surrounded by blue-tinted vanilla Madeira sponge (representing the next layer of molecular hydrogen), followed by a thin layer of vanilla buttercream before the fondant surface.

All this talk of food makes me hungry, but there's no denying cakes are a fun way to learn about the earth and other planets.


At Ultimate Globes, we also have cut-away globes and other classroom globes for learning about the earth and its structure. But you can't eat them:
Physiographic Relief Globe 12-inch

We also have other planets in the Mova Planet Collection:
Jupiter (and maybe Uranus) to come.
These are 4.5-inch jewel-like globes that only need light to rotate (don't ask me why the moon is in the 'planet' collection). But you still can't eat them.

Cakes are a fun way to learn about planets but you can't store them for reuse and baking them would be time-consuming. But it's good to know you can have your globe and eat it too.

The Globe That Inspired Charlie Chaplin

by Trey Thomas

One of the funniest scenes in Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940) is the 'Globe Scene', where, inspired by the notion of being "Emperor of the World," Tomainian dictator, Adenoid Hynkel, does a balletic number with a large inflatable world globe.
The scene ends with the globe bursting in his face.


This globe is said to be inspired by a large globe at the German New Reich Chancellery during the Nazi regime (The Great Dictator made fun of Hitler). Pictures of the globe appear before, during, and after the Second World War:

Globe in the Cabinet Room of the New Reich Chancellery

Soviet soldiers posing with the globe (inside the war-damaged Chancellery) in 1945

Soviet Soldiers pointing at Africa

Globe (with bullet-hole through Germany) displayed at the German Historical Museum. Note different styling of pedestal from the World War II pictures.

Compare with Charlie Chaplin's globe:

Of course, Charlie Chaplin's globe had to be smaller – he wouldn't have been able to juggle the balloon effectively if its size were bigger than two men like the one pictured with the Soviet soldiers:

If Charlie Chaplin was really 5 feet, 5 inches tall, and his shoes added at least 1.5 inches to his height (5'6.5" or 66.5 inches), his inflatable globe would have been roughly 26.56 inches (2.21 feet) across – definitely a far cry from the huge globe above.

Hitler's Globe

Herblock's "What 'Peace Now' Would Mean" (1940)

There are talks that Hitler's office in the Chancellery had an even bigger globe – nearly the size of a Volkswagen, says Wolfram Pobanz, but there are no known pictures of Hitler posing with it.

Allowing for human error, "nearly the size of a Volkswagen" (the original Beetle was 4.92 feet or 59.04 inches tall) would be around the size of the Reich Chancellery Cabinet Room Globe or larger:
Cabinet Room globe size adjusted so Chaplin's head is similarly sized to the head nearest the German globe. The original Volkswagen's height is in inches.

A truly Volkswagen-sized globe would be one similar in size to the huge world globe found in the Hall of Geographical Maps at the Vecchio Palace:
Mappa Mundi at the Palazzo Vecchio

Pobanz thinks the Hitler Globe could be in Moscow. Another story relates that the Cabinet Room globe was said to have been taken by a high-ranking Soviet general to his office at the then USSR (could have been at the Kremlin) and was destroyed through water damage later. But that's just anecdotal.

Apparently the pedestal of both the New Reich Chancellery and the Führer globes were of similar construction – "sharp-cornered, stepped wood base" according to Pobanz (the 'stepping' is seen in the first picture of the Cabinet Room globe in the New Chancellery), which is different from the base of the globe displayed at the German Historical Museum.

Globes made for top Nazi officials were called "Columbus Globe for State and Industry Leaders" but records of how big Hitler's globe was, if ever there was one, was destroyed with the Columbus company's archives in 1943.

War trophy

Then there's the desk globe taken as war booty in 1945 by John Barsamian from the Eagle's Nest (Hitler's mountaintop retreat) near Berchtesgaden, Germany. This globe was put up at auction and sold to Bob Pritikin in 2007 .
John Barsamian with the Eagle's Nest Globe

A replica of this globe was shown in the Tom Cruise movie Valkyrie, prompting speculations of a copyright suit coming from Bob Pritikin.

I only have a Valkyrie scene showing a replica of the German Historical Museum globe supposedly in Hitler's mountain retreat:

I doubt the feasibility of such a lawsuit. Wrangling over relics left by someone responsible for the murder of millions is as full of air as Chaplin's inflated balloon globe.

Use globes safely

Ultimate Globes does have a selection of inflatable globes like this one:
Inflatable Light Blue Political Globe
At 27 inches across, this is the closest in size to Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator globe (12 and 16-inch sizes are also available). Unlike Chaplin's globe, this will not easily burst in your face.

Meher Baba describes the globe bursting scene as symbolic of greed and its consequences, the dictator's "desire to possess the world destroys it in the process."

Meher Baba concludes with a (probably apocryphal) story about the New Reich Chancellery globe:

When the Russians entered Berlin after Hitler's suicide they found the actual room upon which Chaplin's set was based. Everything in it was destroyed by bombing, the ceiling caved in, dust everywhere. But miraculously this globe, depicted in a prop in Charlie Chaplin's film, was unscathed, the sole thing remaining in the room. Symbolically speaking, God had saved the world itself.

Wanting to possess a model of the world is one thing, wanting to possess the actual world is another.

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