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More Innovative Globe Makers from History

Johannes Schöner

shoner_globeJohannes Schöner was a German globe maker. In addition to his geographic achievements, he was a also priest, astronomer, cosmographer, cartographer and mathematician, amongst other talents. While in Bamberg in the 16th century, he started publishing maps and globes while working as a professor of math. His first globe was a celestial globe, in the early 1500's. He made a series of printed globes that were highly influential, and remain amongst the first in history to include America, along with Antarctica. However, in his early globes, America was depicted as part of Asia. In accompanying writings he said of the New World, “the Genoese Columbus and Americo Vespucci reaching only the coastal parts of those lands from Spain across the Western Ocean, considered them to be an island which they called America.”


Emery Molyneux

Digital Camera Exif JPEGEmery Molyneux was an English globe maker from the 16th century. He brought the art of globe making to England, and when his first terrestrial and celestial globes hit the market in 1592, he became the first Englishman to participate in the craft. In addition to his expertise as a globe maker, he also made mathematical instruments like compasses and hourglasses. Molyneux's geographical knowledge came from careful study of ruttier and pilots, both navigational tools for sailors. The globe maker was also a personal acquaintance of many explorers and actually joined Sir Francis Drake on his 1777-1780 circumnavigation of the world. Molyneux innovated globes that were made from flour paste, meaning that they were not affected by the humidity of the ocean, allowing them to be taken on sea journeys.



Gemma Frisius

frisius globeGemma Frisius, as briefly mentioned in the previous blog post, was a highly influential early globe maker. Like many of these renaissance men, he was also a doctor, mathematician, philosopher and cartographer. He was instrumental in refining mathematical tools of his day to improve navigation, along with surveying. Among his venerable students were Johannes Stadius, John Dee, Andreas Vesalius and Rembert Dodoens, but most importantly Gerardus Mercator, whom he employed to help him make globes and who, after Frisius' death, took over his reign as the most respected globe maker in the world. In addition to his achievements as a globe maker, Frisius also developed the use of triangulation for surveying and discovered how clocks could be used to calculate longitude.

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