Betts 15-Inch Collapsible Terrestrial Globe

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This is a cloth globe on a steel frame that expands and collapses like an umbrella. The cartouche in the North Pacific reads “BY THE QUEEN’S ROYAL LETTERS PATENT / BETTS’S / PORTABLE / TERRESTRIAL GLOBE / COMPILED FROM / THE LATEST AND BEST AUTHORITIES / LONDON: GEORGE PHILIP & SON, 32 FLEET STREET / LIVERPOOL: CAXTON BUILDINGS, AND 49 & 51 SOUTH CASTLE STREET.”
The pine box that holds the collapsed globe is marked “BETTS’S PATENT PORTABLE GLOBE” and “London: George Philip & Son, 32, Fleet Street Liverpool: Caxton Buildings, & 49 & 51 South Castle Street.”
John Betts (fl. 1844-1875) was a London publisher who specialized in inexpensive educational goods. He obtained a British patent (GB 1338) for "Collapsible Geographical Spheres" in 1856, and began advertising his patent portable globe soon thereafter. This example was produced by George Philip & Son, a publishing firm that was established in London in 1834, and that was still offering Betts’s globes in the 1920s.
The inclusion of “Cape Colony” suggests that this example was made before the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910. The inclusion of “Ind. Ter.” in the United States suggests that it was made before 1907 when Oklahoma became a state.
Ref: John Betts, A Companion to Betts’s portable globe and diagrams (about 1850).
John Lanman, “Folding or Collapsible Terrestrial Globes,” Der Globusfreund 35-37 (1987): 39-44.
Elly Dekker, Globes at Greenwich (Oxford, 1999), pp. 276-278, and 444-447.
Yojiro Utsunomiya, “The Amount of Geographical Information on ‘Betts’s Portable Terrestrial Globe’” Globe Studies 53-56 (2007): 100-?
Currently not on view
date made
late 19th century
George Philip & Son
place made
United Kingdom: England, London
associated place
United States: Massachusetts, Amherst
Physical Description
cloth (overall material)
pine (overall material)
paper (overall material)
average spatial: 38 cm; 14 31/32 in
overall: 3 in x 30 1/4 in x 3 in; 7.62 cm x 76.835 cm x 7.62 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Amherst College
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Data Source
National Museum of American History