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Sunday, December 30, 2012

I love this: my Weber-Costello globe

One day, on a whim, I bought this old globe on Ebay. It's a Weber-Costello model with a wood base (probably not original) and a heavy, cast-iron meridian. It's a little scratched and faded, but that's half the charm!
What I love about this globe:
1. It has steam-ship routes marked in the oceans
2. It has a beautiful 1940's san-serif font
3. The colors have faded to muted neutrals
4. Louisiana is much larger than it is now (we're shrinking!)
5. Germany is unified
6. Ireland and Scotland aren't even marked: it's all Britain.
7. The United States is more faded than any other area
8. spelled like that
9. "The Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic" is how Russia is labeled
10. Africa is still divided into "French" this and "British" that

How old is my globe? It's a little ambiguous. I'd say late-40's, based on country names. There are several good references to assist with globe dating; this one is good since it's created by a globe manufacturer.
Globes aren't dated, so the first step in determining age is to look at the manufacturer. Weber Costello stopped making globes in 1960, so that narrowed things down quite a bit.
Next, look for known series - for example, were embossed mountain ranges only made between 1975 and 1990?
Then start looking for tell-tale country names.
I can't definitively date my globe, because some of the dates conflict.

For example: 
My globe still lists Indo-China, so it should be prior to 1949. It also says Thailand instead of Siam. Thailand replaced Siam in 1939, but reverted back in 1945...then back to Thailand in 1949. So maybe this globe was made smack dab in the middle of 1949?
But then, it also is labeled Trans-Jordan instead of Jordan, and that change should have occurred back in 1946.
Israel is listed as a country, so that puts us after 1948: another vote for 1949. But the font is slightly different for the country name, as if it were added as an afterthought!

I paid less than $20 for this globe including shipping, but studying old names and borders has provided hours of entertainment. Plus, it adds a wonderful touch to my living room. It reminds me a little of Christmas when I was seven, when we got a globe as a family gift (my parents were big on gifts for us all to share, since there were about 17 million of us). Unexpectedly, the globe stole the show that year, and we kids surrounded it for hours that day, even skipping lunch lest we give up our coveted corner of the world!


  1. I love the story of your family gift globe. We have my husband's circa-1960's Rand-McNally student globe in our living room. It's not nearly as neat as yours, but our boys get it down fairly often and study it.

  2. Oh that is so cool! I love globes, too! That is awesome that you have such an old one. So much has changed since it was made!!

  3. You are so interesting to me! I love hearing about the little things like this that make you tick. Love posts like this. What a treasure you have and you made me interested in a globe when otherwise, I might not even give it a second look. :)

  4. What a sweet little find. (My room is covered in maps of all kinds and I would wallpaper my entire apartment with them if I could, so I love this globe. Old stuff is even more fun!)

  5. How cool is that? I love globes/maps and to find something vintage like, where you have a little mystery to solve, makes it that much more fun!

  6. That is great! I love that you bought that, and I love that your family was all about gifts, like that, for all the kids - sounds like my family! One year, we all got a new set of encyclopedia's - so exciting, it truly was. I think we were all under age 12, there are 5 of us. Another year we got the unabridged webster's dictionary - the thing was huge - entertained for hours. I think of things like that as I'm getting my kids American Girl dolls and plastic trucks....I want to get back to the "fun" stuff;-)

  7. Have the exact globe with same wood is original and made in 1949.

    1. Thank you for the comment! I'm so thrilled to hear confirmation for my guesses!