The Mystery of the Globe

 

Literally, the one in my office. I have a beautiful Rand McNally globe that sat in my grandfather’s office when he worked for the company in the 1960s. My dad has had it since the 80s, and gave it to me a few months back (ok, I took it and he didn’t object). Only recently have I had time to really take a close look; the first time in 35 years.

The mystery is: how old is the globe?

My dad’s memory is that it was in his dad’s office just around the time he started high school in 1960, so at least 60 years old. Now, the first twist: There is only one Germany represented, so pre WWII, eighty years?

There is also a Soviet Union represented- post WW1 ? So is it one hundred years?!!

But wait. Egypt is represented as UAR (United Arab Republic), which the interwebs tell me was an alliance between Egypt and Syria from 1958 to 1971 that I’d never heard of.

So it has to be globe produced basically in 1960, but then why the heck would East Germany not be represented?

I can’t find anything on the globe that gives me any sort of a “copyright” date, but I’d love to figure it out. Any thoughts?

P.S. I’m starting to believe that perhaps this globe had some sort of printing error (“Say Fred- this thing only has one Germany- you know we won the war, right?”) Maybe this is a goof globe that they just gave away to employees.

Not a big deal. Still works.

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There are 28 comments.

  1. FightinInPhilly Thatcher
    FightinInPhilly Post author

    p.p.s. if any of the fine editors can remove the duplicate picture I’d be obliged- cannot for the life of me figure out how to remove it.

    • #1
    • July 18, 2019, at 7:45 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Dan Campbell Member

    Look at the African countries. A lot of them gained independence during the late 50s and 60s. If large parts are represented as European colonies, it was made earlier. Is Israel a state? If so, it was made after 1948.

    I had a globe when I was a wee lad in the early 60s that had most of western Africa as one country and labeled French West Africa or some such.

    • #2
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:06 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  3. Bob Thompson Member

    I don’t remember East Germany having membership in the UN. They were represented in the Olympics, but were they ever recognized diplomatically by other nations? Is Korea shown as North and South?

    • #3
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. namlliT noD Member

    XKCD to the rescue!

     

    (Clicking on the image links to the source, and click on that image for the full size one.)

    • #4
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:09 AM PDT
    • 25 likes
  5. FightinInPhilly Thatcher
    FightinInPhilly Post author

    Dan Campbell (View Comment):

    Look at the African countries. A lot of them gained independence during the late 50s and 60s. If large parts are represented as European colonies, it was made earlier. Is Israel a state? If so, it was made after 1948.

    I had a globe when I was a wee lad in the early 60s that had most of western Africa as one country and labeled French West Africa or some such.

    Very interesting. Israel is its own state. In Africa the first thing that pops out is a large country called The Congo, which I believe became Zaire for 30 years or so and is now The Democratic Republic of the Congo. That points us back to the 60s as the “born on” date, I suppose.

    • #5
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. John Park Member

    No more Upper Volta, it’s Burkina Faso now.

    No more Czechoslovakia, it’s the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    Not to mention Yugoslavia.

    • #6
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:16 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  7. ltpwfdcm allegedly Coolidge

    If you look at Germany, it has the capital star logo on both Berlin and Bonn. During the Cold War, West Germany/the West in general considered East Germany to be illegitimate so it makes sense that Rand McNally might reflect that view. Berlin was still considered to be the de jure capital but Bonn functioned as the de facto capital.

    I recall from looking at old maps and atlases that my map-loving father had amassed the frequent changes that happened especially in the 60’s with the independence movements that @dancampbell mentioned.

    One clue that might also help narrow down the time frame in addition to the UAR/Egypt thing will be looking at Pakistan. Islamabad was announced as the official capital in 1959, but while it was being constructed, Rawalpindi became the interim capital (I recall an old map in school growing up showing this brief state of affairs) until 1967 when the transition was complete. 

    • #7
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:17 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. ltpwfdcm allegedly Coolidge

    Here’s a nice resource I found, Globe Dating Info (not the droid you’re looking for if you’re wanting to enter a romantic relationship with a globe…) If French West Africa is still there, it’s before 1960, Sierra Leone and Tanganikya become independent in 1961 as well.

    • #8
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  9. Seawriter Member

    The German boundaries are post WWII. It is possible it is shown as one nation because it was still viewed as one nation partitioned into four occupation zones (at least in the West) until 1961. (There were attempts to reunify Germany in the 1950s as a demilitarized neutral state similar to Austria.) East Germany was not sealed off from the west until 1961. Until then it was possible to cross from one to another. My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

     

    • #9
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  10. FightinInPhilly Thatcher
    FightinInPhilly Post author

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    XKCD to the rescue!

     

    (Clicking on the image links to the source, and click on that image for the full size one.)

    How cow- this thing is amazing!

    • #10
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:29 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  11. FightinInPhilly Thatcher
    FightinInPhilly Post author

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The German boundaries are post WWII. It is possible it is shown as one nation because it was still viewed as one nation partitioned into four occupation zones (at least in the West) until 1961. (There were attempts to reunify Germany in the 1950s as a demilitarized neutral state similar to Austria.) East Germany was not sealed off from the west until 1961. Until then it was possible to cross from one to another. My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

     

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    I don’t remember East Germany having membership in the UN. They were represented in the Olympics, but were they ever recognized diplomatically by other nations? Is Korea shown as North and South?

    There is a less prominent Noth Korea and South Korea, with capitals identified as Seoul and Pyongyang, but no hard border. Maybe because in 1960 people probably figured the DMZ wouldn’t be forever? Good insight- thanks

    • #11
    • July 18, 2019, at 8:38 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    While the UAR designation for Egypt sets the early bound for the globe in 1958, I noticed from your photo that Syria does not appear to be shown as the UAR. After the breakup with Syria in 1961, Egypt remained officially known as the UAR until 1971 so that appears to be the last year in which the globe could have been made, and it is most likely produced between 1962 and 1971.

    • #12
    • July 18, 2019, at 9:12 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. namlliT noD Member

    Your globe does have a really fine Analemma. Less common these days.

     

    • #13
    • July 18, 2019, at 9:23 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  14. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Algeria seems to be colored the same as France and in your photo is not designated as an independent country, though the southern part is not visible. Algeria became independent in July 1962 so if not shown that way on the globe, it was probably made between Syria withdrawing from the UAR in September 1961 and Algerian independence.

    • #14
    • July 18, 2019, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    And if Algeria is shown as independent, you can probably narrow the date of the globe further by looking at this list of African countries which became independent between 1962 and 1971 and checking how they are shown.

    • #15
    • July 18, 2019, at 10:00 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. FightinInPhilly Thatcher
    FightinInPhilly Post author

    Based on the guide provided by @dontillman, I think it’s likely this was produced sometime between 1965-1971, and given my dad’s memory, probably closer to ’65. The presence of Tanzania appears to be the clincher.

    • #16
    • July 18, 2019, at 10:48 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  17. namlliT noD Member

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    XKCD to the rescue!

    How cow- this thing is amazing!

    Yeah, there’s a lot of wonderful detail here to explore here. And it’s useful. Please enjoy!

    • #17
    • July 18, 2019, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Miffed White Male Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

    What’s the status of Alaska and Hawaii? They became states in 1959.

     

    • #18
    • July 18, 2019, at 6:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  19. PHCheese Member

    Here is my globe. I don’t know when it was made but I did give Tuesday Morning $19.99 for it about ten years ago.

    • #19
    • July 18, 2019, at 6:58 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  20. FightinInPhilly Thatcher
    FightinInPhilly Post author

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

    What’s the status of Alaska and Hawaii? They became states in 1959.

     

    Both are states on the globe- that should have deterred me from my initial instinct that it was pre WWII. This was a fun little exercise- I’m surprised how surprised I am about the shifting nature of countries in even recent history.

    • #20
    • July 19, 2019, at 5:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Miffed White Male Member

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

    What’s the status of Alaska and Hawaii? They became states in 1959.

     

    Both are states on the globe- that should have deterred me from my initial instinct that it was pre WWII. This was a fun little exercise- I’m surprised how surprised I am about the shifting nature of countries in even recent history.

    The one Germany would have thrown me off too.

     

    • #21
    • July 19, 2019, at 6:08 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Full Size Tabby Member

    This is fun! I’m glad you asked the question.

    • #22
    • July 20, 2019, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. EB Thatcher
    EB

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    XKCD to the rescue!

    Love the center section!!

    • #23
    • July 20, 2019, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. J Ro Member

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

    What’s the status of Alaska and Hawaii? They became states in 1959.

    Both are states on the globe- that should have deterred me from my initial instinct that it was pre WWII. This was a fun little exercise- I’m surprised how surprised I am about the shifting nature of countries in even recent history.

    What about the Philippines clue? Requested and received independence from the US on July 4, 1946.

    Still waiting for Puerto Rico…

    • #24
    • July 20, 2019, at 9:50 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. FightinInPhilly Thatcher
    FightinInPhilly Post author

    J Ro (View Comment):

    FightinInPhilly (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

    What’s the status of Alaska and Hawaii? They became states in 1959.

    Both are states on the globe- that should have deterred me from my initial instinct that it was pre WWII. This was a fun little exercise- I’m surprised how surprised I am about the shifting nature of countries in even recent history.

    What about the Philippines clue? Requested and received independence from the US on July 4, 1946.

    Still waiting for Puerto Rico…

    The Phillippines is shown as an independent country, which would make sense for a globe produced in the early 1960s.

     

    • #25
    • July 21, 2019, at 11:16 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. namlliT noD Member

    Looking the the XKCD comic again, I find it interesting that he references four lakes appearing or disappearing:

    • The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake, created by accident (!!!) while tapping into the Colorado River for irrigation.
    • Lake Volta in Ghana, the largest lake created by a dam.
    • The Aral Sea, the 4th largest lake in the world eliminated by redirecting rivers for Soviet irrigation projects
    • Lake Chad, has mostly disappeared, nobody’s sure why.

    Pretty amazing.

    • #26
    • July 21, 2019, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Kim K. Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The German boundaries are post WWII. It is possible it is shown as one nation because it was still viewed as one nation partitioned into four occupation zones (at least in the West) until 1961. (There were attempts to reunify Germany in the 1950s as a demilitarized neutral state similar to Austria.) East Germany was not sealed off from the west until 1961. Until then it was possible to cross from one to another. My bet is this globe was printed some time between 1958 and 1961.

     

    In a related note, I recently read and would recommend Berlin 1961, which is time well spent if you really want to get into the weeds on this topic. 

    • #27
    • July 21, 2019, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  28. Blue State Blues Member

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    Ricochet

    What’s the deal with Colorado turning into a radioactive exclusion zone in 2022?

    • #28
    • July 21, 2019, at 5:47 PM PDT
    • 1 like