Terrestrial Globe

Manufactured by Franklin Field; published by Merriam & Moore, Troy, NY
Date: c. 1855
Maker: Manufactured by Franklin Field; published by Merriam & Moore, Troy, NY
Materials: Hand-colored engraving on paper applied to composite material, cast iron, brass, wood
Credit: Albany Institute of History & Art Purchase
Accession Number: 2007.35

Listed as a “globe manufacturer” in Troy city directories from 1853 to 1860, Franklin Field produced only six-inch globes at the opening of his business. By 1859, however, he offered globes in five sizes, from six inches to thirty inches in diameter. This terrestrial globe, measuring nearly ten inches in diameter, sits in a decorative cast-iron stand with a wooden horizon ring and printed horizon paper showing the signs of the zodiac. The hand-colored world map, published by Troy booksellers and publishers Merriam and Moore, is carefully applied to a sphere made “of a material different from that heretofore used,” as Field noted, and is “very much stronger than other globes, and less liable to crack or be broken by a fall or other accident.”

The appearance or absence of certain features on the globe help date it to the mid-1850s. Among these are the inclusion of Washington Territory, which separated from the larger Oregon Territory in 1853; the absence of the Atlantic telegraph cable, laid in 1858; and the absence of the state of Oregon, which entered the union in 1859. In addition to countries, territories, and topographical features, the globe also traces the oceanic voyages of Christopher Columbus (1492) and the Mayflower (1620). Antarctica is only partially delineated and is identified as the “Supposed Antarctic continent seen by Wilks and Others in 1840.”

Although originally made by Franklin Field, after 1860 globes known as “Franklin globes” were made by various manufacturers for Merriam and Moore or one of its successors until the end of the nineteenth century. The globe acquired by the Albany Institute is one of Franklin Field’s earliest.