Sep 13, 2011

Collecting Vintage Globes

It started with a rug. An inexpensive globe patterned rug that looked perfect in the middle of our living room. After a few years I had a good collection of globes. After this last move, only one remained-the old wooden globe from my childhood.

Globes are one of the oldest scientific tools still in use today. The first known globe was built by Crates of Mallus in c. 2nd century B.C. The oldest known western terrestrial globe was made in 1492 by Martin Behaim of Nuremberg. It still exists today, living at the Germanic Museum in Nuremberg.

The first U.S. maker of globes was James Wilson. Many globes were being produced in Chicago, which in the 20th century was considered the globe capitol of the United States. Globes gained popularity with the average man and became more common in households and schools. As globes were mass produced, tin toy globes, plastic blow ups, and educational school globes were everywhere.

If you are interested in information on collecting globes Omniterrum is by far the best online resource. Their vast and intellegent site covers every aspect of globe collecting. Including, dating your globe. They have a list of globe makers and manufactures. They also offer date by date geographical chages that would help signify the age of your globe. I also found this helpful list related to globe dating.

But....what do you do with all those globes once you've collected them? Towards the end of my globe gathering I kept them on a high shelf in my kitchen. Keeping company with my tin and wooden pedestal globes was a glass globe decanter that was so delecate I was terrified to use it! Curious for globe decorating tips? I found a few. Pottery Barn hung them from the ceeling. Apartment Thearpy put them on the floor. Better Homes and Gardens shoved them on a shelf like I did. And BlueBellBazar painted theirs with chalk paint!

Unsure how to clean your globe collection? Colleen over at Fresh Vintage offers this hilliarous and (beautifully photographed) advice.

All of the globes you see in this post are available for purchase on etsy. Thank you etsy sellers for the use of your lovely photographs!


  1. Funny timing...I did a collection challenge of globes today. Great minds think alike! Off to hit some of the links you provided in your post!

  2. Beautiful!! We have so much in common!! :-)