The Worldly Edward Wormley

This past Labor Day weekend I forwent the usual garage sales and thrifting for a visit to my hometown. While at my parents’ house, however, I did discover one of my mom’s most amazing recents finds. IMG_5666Not only is this one of the most amazing stand globes I’ve ever seen, but it also has pedigree, being designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. It just looks great from every angle. IMG_5667 The paper-clad glass globe spins on its axis and also tilts via the brass ring that rolls on a bearing underneath. But the best part? It’s also a lamp. IMG_5673 Boom! Pretty amazing, right? I’m not entirely sure when this design first hit the market, but I’ve seen examples going back into the 1940s outfitted with globes from either Rand McNally or Replogle. Of course maps and globes never seem to have a copyright date on them, so I did a little fast and loose research to figure out the age of this one.

There's never a copyright date. Never.

There’s never a copyright date. Never.

So, how does one date a globe? First I checked the obvious ones: Alaska and Hawaii had both already attained U.S. statehood so it was made after 1959. To narrow it down further, I looked toward one of the more politically unstable regions of the world—Africa. IMG_5683 The reason I go immediately to Africa is because I once did research to date an enormous relief map of Africa hanging on my office wall. In 1960 both Belgian Congo and French Congo received their independence and, although they were separate nations, both were subsequently renamed Republic of the Congo. To distinguish between the two, it appears former French Congo was often simply referred to as Congo and former Belgian Congo as The Congo. In 1964 a constitutional referendum renamed former Belgian Congo as Democratic Republic of the Congo (this name remains today, though most of us grew up calling it Zaire, as it was named from 1971–1997). That puts this specimen somewhere between 1960 and 1964. That’s a close enough range for me, although I’m certain there are clues that might narrow the range further. Regardless of age, this globe of globes is truly spectacular. Good find, mom.

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