Sunday, January 31, 2016

Did you know... A Brief History of the Globe

Martin Behaim
Contrary to popular belief, the people of antiquity never believed that the world was actually flat. In fact, the concept of a spherical Earth goes all the way back to 3rd century Greece. During that time, celestial globes were extremely popular. It wasn't until the 11th century that Islamic astronomers constructed the first terrestrial globes. Although the features of a globe have evolved over the centuries, its purpose and value as an educational tool remains as important as ever.

The First Globes

German geographer Martin Behaim created the oldest surviving terrestrial globe in 1492. Unlike today's, this earlier example documented not only locations, but also recorded market places and local trading protocols. In the 1500s, Flemish geographer Gerhard Kremer developed the Meractor projection map. The Meractor projection map included all of the meridian and longitudinal lines parallel to the latitude lines. This feature made map reading simple for navigators and is still used today.

The Golden Age of the Globe

In the 17th century, globes were not only functional but fashionable. English gentlemen wore pocket globes as status symbols and elaborate globes were kept in homes and gardens as decorative furniture.

The 19th century saw a boom of affordable globes made from paper and other inexpensive material. Once used in training navigators and astronomers, they gained popularity with primary schools and tutors. The added time dial feature taught students to compare time from around the world.

Globes Today

Today, globes come in all sizes and varieties. Political globes display not only physical characteristics but also political boundaries. When turned on, illuminated globes often display additional information like topographical points. Despite online world maps and virtual Earths, nothing can compare to the tangible feeling of a globe.

To learn more about our globes, contact us and we'll be more than happy to help.

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