Construction of a globe

A globe is constructed according to the rules of the art and does not merely consist of the sphere itself. Likewise the wooden axis construction and the mount are of paramount importance.

Construction of a globe

A globe is composed of two half spheres made of paper-maché and glued together. Inside the globe there is a wooden axis construction that is attached to the inside of the shell by means of metal staples.

The axis construction

Metal pins are inserted into the wooden main axes, which extend from the South Pole to the North Pole of the globe. These can be turned in the metal band that half spans the sphere (the meridian) so that the globe is capable of rotating. Also, in the case of the 68 centimetre globes, cross axes are added in order to strengthen the construction. During the pre-examination of the globes at the Heritage Library Hendrik Conscience, it came to light that earlier restorations had been carried out: the pins that are screwed into the wooden axis had previously been sawed off.

Most globes were balanced by placing small pouches with lead beads inside the shell. The examination showed that such pouches were not present in the case of the Heritage Library globes.

A globe’s cradle mount

A globe cannot remain upright without support and, hence, is seated inside a cradle mount. The metal meridian around the sphere rests on a rotating support located in the centre of the bottom plate of this mount. Underneath this bottom plate run two crossbeams towards the construction’s four feet. The cross underneath the bottom plate rotates and rests on a triangular base with egg-shaped feet. This base pediment bears the entire weight of the globe and its mount. The bottom plate also contains a compass.

The paper surface

The paper-maché is covered with a chalk glue coating to smooth out the surface. This coating is covered with paper strips or ‘gores’, which are then imprinted with the globe’s cartographic design. The paper is coloured by hand and may possibly be finished with gold leaf. A varnish coating protects the painting and forms the outermost layer.