In the early 1800s, Bradford dairy farmer James Wilson began manufacturing globes made of paper Mache. They were meticulously crafted – from the hand drawn details of the maps to the tooled brass meridian and wooden stand.
James Wilson eventually moved his globe factory to Albany, New York, to be closer to the city. After his sons took over the business, he returned to Bradford where he died in 1855. He was 92. Despite his familiarity with the globe, as far as we know Wilson never traveled outside of the northeast.
Only a handful of the first Wilson Globes are still in existence. One of them belongs to the Bradford Historical Society which raised 26 thousand dollars to repair it. This evening, the public is getting its first glimpse of the renovated globe – and earlier this week VPR’s Steve Zind took a peek, and learned about the history of Wilson Globes.
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