The Radcliffe Red List of Endangered Crafts


Globe making


The making of globes, spheres covered with a map usually of the earth or the heavens.


Status Endangered
Craft category
Historic area of significance London, Edinburgh
Area currently practised Isle of Wight, London
Origin in the UK 1640 recorded, but likely earlier than that
Current no. of professionals (main income) 4 businesses and 1 individual
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required



The earliest globes are known to date from 1492 but very few have survived, and it was in the early 16th century that printed globes were made.

There are several types of globe: terrestrial globes (showing the Earth), celestial globes (showing the skies), lunar globes (showing the moon), and planetary globes.



There are a number of key skills involved including:

  • map-making to fit on curved surfaces
  • the construction of the ball itself
  • the construction of the stand for the larger globes

The traditional method of globe construction involved making a papier maché sphere and then covering it in plaster (although today, many globe makers outsource the spheres and have them made in resin/fibreglass or plastic).


Local forms



  • Wood turning (stands)
  • Ball making (fibreglass, plaster, plastic, etc.)
  • Map making
  • Restoration
  • Engraving
  • Engineering


Issues affecting the viability of the craft


Support organisations


Craftspeople currently known

Individual makers:

  • Loraine Rutt – makes limited edition traditional paper globes and porcelain globes, and is in the process of re-launching the 200 year old globemakers Georama (the globe making branch of atlas makers George Philips and sons and was separated from the parent company when Philips was bought by Reed International around 1980).


Other information