Lacking a global perspective… (or help me date this globe)

Visiting my parents a few weeks ago I noticed this globe.

The globe

My parent's globe

Being a bit of a geek I had a closer look. I’ve always liked maps and globes and it presented a puzzle.

The question is how old is it? My mum is unsure. It was her fathers, and since the visit she’s told me that her sister has said he purchased it in the 1930s at a second hand shop.

Close up of globe (Russia)

An attempt to do a close up to show the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and other empires...

More interesting are the clues in the globe itself. Obviously you can get a rough age of the globe by looking for which countries are on it. Looking at Russia also showed that it was pre-revolution: labelled the Russian Empire and not USSR. I then noticed that the Austro-Hungarian empire was still there and that Turkey looked a bit bigger than I expected. The first fact (no USSR) could have left me around the time of the Russian civil war, but the other two push me firmly into around about 1918 as a latest possible date.

Other countries/territories that are marked that no longer exist include Beluchistan (at that time pink as part of British empire), Bokhara, Abysinnia. In africa Soudan is marked on an apparently general name for Africa north of Guinea. Modern day Libya is called Tripoli. Antarctica is notably incomplete.

More intriguingly there was also a seperate Orange Free State and a South African Republic (which wikipedia confirms is the Transvaal).

S America on the globe

Good luck trying to see it, but Bolivia's borders appear to be before the loss of Acre.

Being a bit of a geek I remembered that South America, in particular Bolivia, is a useful way of dating maps. Bolivia’s history at the end of the nineteenth and start of the twentieth century could be described as turbulent. Disastrous might be another word. Basically in a series of wars and treaties Bolivia lost territory to nearly all of it’s neighbours, as shown on this map. On the globe the state of Acre, which is a distinctive wedge shape on the top of Bolivia, had not yet been lost. This went to Brazil in 1903. The 1867 territories seem to have gone already.

My next thought was to look at the makers badge. I have a pic of this but it is just a blur. It says…

Philip’s 5/- popular terrestrial globe London
George Philip & son
32 Fleet Street

(Actually you can’t quite make out the “l” in Fleet Street, but I think given that George Philip & son were at 32 Fleet Street I am confident that is what it did say.)

A bit of digging around the internet suggests that Philip’s started selling globes in the late nineteenth century, and made their own from the early twentieth. However I have lost the link I’m basing that claim on.

So can anyone help me date this more precisely than “before 1904, probably”?

Any suggestions for other countries to check for gratefully received. I have some other photos, and can get more!

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Filed under geography, globe, history, maps, Uncategorized

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