Juan Trippe and the Malby Globe

Juan Trippe’s Malby Globe in the Smithsonian
I couldn’t help but notice the large globe in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This artifact is part of the “America by Air” exhibition. Juan Trippe, president of Pan Am Airlines, was accustomed to using this globe to calculate flight distances (using string!) and often posed with it in publicity photos (see more here).

Juan Trippe measuring distances

A little research on the internet turned up a few references to this globe in particular, and to Malby Globes in general. One blog post in particular, titled Very Large Globes has several references which I shall check out more thoroughly.

The reason I bring all this up, of course, is in my pursuit of globe examples which might provide a style for the construction of my own globe. I’ve already built the galvanized steel template for constructing the hollow plaster sphere, and work is in progress on initial fittings for the ball-bearing spindles and vertical axis. As far as the actual design goes, I’ve accumulated many samples and had some insight into polyconic projections as well as vector layouts for the actual art. So, I’m feeling pretty good about the project. The only limiting factor right now is time.

The Malby has some very nice features to draw from. One reference gives a description of one for the globes which was for sale at $103700:

MALBY’S/36-inch/TERRESTRIAL GLOBE/Edward Stanford/12, 13, 14 Long Acre, London. W.C. Made up of twenty-four hand-colored engraved gores laid on a hollow plaster-coated sphere, the equatorial graduated in degrees and subdivided to two minutes, labelled every 5°, with hours I-XII (x2), the equinoctial colure graduated in degrees and subdivided into two minutes labeled every 5°, the ecliptic graduated for individual days and labeled with months, five day intervals and the sigils of the Zodiac, all major continents are represented with the country borders outlined in various colors, with few other notes, and Antartica delineated only by a reference to South Victoria. The engraved horizon paper graduated in degrees of amplitude and azimuth and labeled with thirty-two compass points, brass hour dial at the North Pole, brass meridian ring graduated in four quadrants; on a mahogany stand with curved scroll shaped supports, raised on a concave sided trefoil platform on casters.

36-Inch Malby Globe

Also, from , a very famous place in the UK from which to buy collectables, comes this item: A Victorian 36-inch terrestrial ‘colossus’ globe by Thomas Malby (4471721) (c. 1850 England):

European Dimensions 157.50 cm high 127.00 cm wide
UK/USA Converted Dimensions 62.01 inches high 50.00 inches wide
Item Literature Elly Dekker, Globes at Greenwich-A Catalogue of the Globes and Armillary Spheres in the National Maritime Museum, Oxford 1999, pp. 404/500/525.
Item Description A highly important and rare mid 19th century 36-inch terrestrial ‘colossus’ globe by Thomas Malby, consisting of 24 hand coloured engraved segments on a plaster coated sphere; within a circular mahogany stand with gadrooned edge above a nulled frieze with floral paterae; on three moulded scroll supports with acanthus carving joined by scroll stretchers with supporting pendent finial; on an open concave triform base with nulled edging, terminating in lotus carved scroll feet with concealed castors.
The globe bearing the label of Edward Stanford, who took over the Malby business and updated the papers in 1873.

Note: Only very few 36 inch Malby colossus globes can be located with the majority of them in national collections. Two are in the collection of the University of Utah, a further three are in the USA and three in Great Britain.

English, circa 1850, with updates by Edward Stanford in 1873

Height: 62 in; 157.5 cm
Diameter: 50 in; 127 cm

Price: £100,000 +

Country of origin England
Started working Circa 1839
The Malby family of map and globe makers was started by Thomas Malby, Sr. about 1839 and continued producing globes until the turn of the 20th century. The firm operated as Malby & Son with Thomas Malby, Jr. and globes produced by the company generally were engraved by C. Malby — presumably a family member — and later continued by Thomas Malby III. The Malby firm is perhaps best known for producing a strikingly large reissue of John Addison’s 1825 terrestrial globe at about 36 inches in diameter (92 cm) produced for the Great Exhibition. Malby produced a variety of table globes in many sizes as well as an interesting pocket globe. The depiction of the lines of magnetic variation on a globe was a Malby innovation. The Malby firm associated itself with the geographical publishing of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). By 1862, Malby globes designed for the SDUK were published by Edward Stanford (1827-1904) whose company is still in business today. Malby also worked with James Wyld, a map, atlas, and globemaker. Wyld sold Malby globes with a James Wyld overlabel.
The Cartouche

So, all in all, a very nice sample which is in the correct time period for my own construction plans. I shall have to make a return visit to the Smithsonian very soon so I can take some close-up pictures.

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2 Responses to Juan Trippe and the Malby Globe

  1. margaret stocker says:


    I am former curator of the Collection at India House. India House recently sold a 36 inch Malby globe. I am researching the globe and other artifacts for a book on the history of the Collection.
    Question: Where is the globe you show on this site???

    There is also a 36 inch in the White House Collection.
    I have some documentation that suggests the White House globe and the globe at India House were both commissioned by the family of one of the founders of India House.

    Can we correspond via email??
    Many thanks,
    Margaret Stocker
    India House Foundation
    It seems to me the dating of these globes may be accomplished

  2. admin says:

    This globe is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Washington DC.

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