Globes, Instruments, and Cartographic Materials


Historic Maps Collection
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Princeton University Library

Astronomical, Navigational, and Other Instruments

1794 W. & S. Jones Orrery

1828 Stellarota

1760 Greenough surveyor's compass

1820 W. & S. Jones pantograph

Undated brass ship's compass

Ca. 1850 American waywiser

pre-1820 Gunter's chain


Undated brass ship's compass

Undated brass ship's compass, with wooden circular stand. Diameter = 7.5" / height = 5.5"

1794 W. & S. Jones Orrery

Hand-cranked orrery, showing movements of Mercury, Venus, and Earth around the Sun, and the Moon around the Earth
Printed, colored, and varnished dial
Brass wheels and gears, Sun and Moon, ivory planets
12.5" diameter wood platter, raised 2" on three legs
Mahogany box: 7.5" x 13.5" x 13.5"

Famed London instrument makers, William (1763-1831) and Samuel (d. 1859) Jones, worked at 135 Holborn from 1792 to
1800, and at 30 Holborn from 1800 to 1860.

The orrery demonstrates astronomical phenomena related to the diurnal rotation of the earth, the annual revolution of the earth around the sun, and monthly revolution of the moon around the earth, such as the reasons for day and night, seasons, and eclipses. The dial has calendar, zodiac names, symbols, and figures, and related calibrations in the outer concentric circles; tables of data relating to the planets (Mercury through Saturn) occupy the center area.

For detailed description and operation of the orrery, see the Princeton University Library copy of:
Jones, William. The description and use of a new portable orrery on a simple construction, representing the motions and phenomena of the planetary system, but more particularly the motions of the earth and moon round the sun ... to which is prefixed, a short account of the solar system, or the true system of the world. London, Printed for, and sold by W. and S. Jones, 1812. EX 8455.502.

1828 Stellarota

Planisphere, in a wooden frame, 25.5 x 28.5 cm., with a sheet of protective glass, consisting of a rotatable star map with time and date scales and a moveable window to define the observer's view
The map is rotated by the small handle shown on the back.
The observer's window enlarges or shrinks as it is centered on the observer's latitude by pushing/pulling the center rod.

The text from the three corners is transcribed here:

A copy of a sheet that gives directions for using the device has been supplied in facsimile. Apparently, such a sheet was originally attached to the rear of the device.

For a complete description of the Stellarota and information about the roles played by the people and firms mentioned on it, see "An Early American Planisphere: Pettengill's Stellarota of 1828" by Ronald Smeltzer in Rittenhouse, Vol. 18, No. 2 (2004), pp. 31-39.

For Pettengill's related educational work, see View of the Heavens, or, Familiar Lessons on Astronomy (1826). MAP 2008-2478N.

1760 Greenough surveyor's compass

Thomas Greenough, surveyor's compass, Boston, ca. 1760

Greenough, Thomas, 1710-1785. American colonial instrument maker.

The compass diameter (including frame) is 6.25 inches; between the sights,12 inches; height, 6 inches. Cherry (?) wood stand and frame support. The paper compass card shows a man in a red coat looking out to sea with a quadrant instrument, and a sailing vessel on the horizon. The card has printed divisions of 0° to 90° in each of the four quadrants.

The inscription on the compass card reads "Made by Thomas Greenough, Boston, New England." Compasses by Thomas Greenough are pictured and described in Silvio Bedini's Early American Scientific Instruments and Their Makers (Washington, D.C., 1964), pp. 85-93.

1820 W. & S. Jones Pantograph

Brass pantograph, in a tapered, hinged mahogany case, 27.5" (long) x 4" (high) x 5.75" / 2.75" (wide), signed "W & S Jones Holborn, London."

The function of a pantograph is to transfer motion via its mechanical linkages to make re-scaled (smaller, larger, or identical) copies of two-dimensional drawings and maps. It consists of four brass arms with four pivoting connections, mounted on six ivory wheels; the resulting instrument forms a parallelogram with left and right extended sides (looking from above, with the instrument aligned like the letter A). Both left-most arms have a sliding brass attachment that allows the user to move it along the scale on the arm and fasten it with a screw, thus changing the scale of the intended copy. Included are a pair of styluses (one brass,one ivory), and a circular weight (with attached stylus) for anchoring the instrument on a flat surface.

Ca. 1850 American waywiser

American waywiser, ca. 1850. Wheel is 31 ½ inches in diameter.

A surveying instrument, a waywiser consists mainly of a large wheel mounted to a frame that can be pushed along a relatively level surface and a dial that registers the distance traveled. Typically, the wheel measures 8.25 feet in circumference, as in this case, such that 2 revolutions are equal to 1 pole (= one rod or 16.5 feet). Waywisers became popular in England in the 18th century, and were still in use in the United States in the late-19th century. They were also known as perambulators.

This example is constructed almost entirely of oak and pine wood including the gear train which drives the dials that indicate the distance traveled. The wheel rim and the dial arrows are metal. The 4 small dials provide readings in feet, rods (16.5 ft.), furlongs (40 rods or 1/8 mile), and miles traveled. There are two boxes mounted on the frame: one opens to reveal the gear train; the other provides storage space and includes a small drawer. In addition a larger storage box hangs below the frame. The two rear supports are folded up when pushing the waywiser (those are modern replacements).

Pre-1820 Gunter's chain

American-made Gunter's chain, pre-1820.

Handmade wrought iron handles, rings, and links; pewter tallies (these are usually brass). 1 link = 7.92 inches. 100 links = 4 rods = 66 feet. 80 chains = 5,280 feet or 1 mile. An acre is 10 square chains.

This is one of the standard distance measurement tools of colonial surveyors, lasting well into the nineteenth century. Theoretically, each link measures 7.92 inches, but in this heavily-used example the blacksmith varied the number of connecting rings between the links from one to four to make up for the variations in link length.  Divisions along the chain are noted by the claw-shaped tallies (one to four toes), with notches indicating the number of 10-link sections; a round tally indicates the halfway point. (This chain is missing the second 4-toe tally.) The total distance from handle end to handle end is approximately sixty-six feet.

In the field, the chain is stretched out by chain bearers along a specific path (or compass bearing), until the surveyor confirms it is straight and true to the line being followed; then the chain is anchored to the ground with steel arrows or pins. The measurement is recorded, and, keeping the last end still secured, the process is repeated again and again until the endpoint is reached.



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Cartographic Materials


playing cards

1973 Boston road puzzle

1860 Colton's North America map puzzle

1897 McLoughlin Bros. U.S. map puzzle

1964-65 NY World's Fair Pop-up map

1915 Parker Brothers U.S. map puzzle

1850 Auguste Logerot atlas puzzle

1972 Paris Subway Puzzle

1886 Dominos Géographiques game

1811 Darton world map puzzle

1964 New Jersey rock set (and geological map)

1804 sampler of Palestine

Playing Cards

Morden's Playing Cards (1676) [the following is taken from the cover sheet]
This most interesting Pack of Cards, of which only one Pack complete with the two Preliminary Cards is thought to exist, forms a small Atlas of England and Wales. As such, it is the first Atlas to indicate roads.

The set is entered in the Terra Catalogue for Easter 1676 as: 'The 52 Countries (sic) of England and Wales, described in a pack of cards . . . Sold by Robert Morden at the Atlas in Cornhill, Will. Berry at the Globe in the Strand, Robert Green in Budge Row, and George Minikin at the King's Head in S. Martin's.'

The selection of the Counties for the Suits is described in the Preliminary Card, headed--'The Explanation of These Cards.' The Esqr. Ogilby, referred to, is the John Ogilby who in the previous year published his Britannia, which described the 100 Roads in Britain.

The King depicted on the cards is Charles II and the Queen, his wife, Catherine of Braganza. The main part of the cards was printed from engraved copper plates, with the suit marks being applied later by stencil.

The cards were clearly designed to give instruction to the young, rather than for serious play. There were other similar Instructional Packs of Cards published at about the same time covering, among other subjects, Astronomy, Geography, Heraldry and History.

1850 Auguste Logerot atlas puzzle


"Atlas," ca. 1850 French jigsaw puzzle by Auguste Logerot (fl. 1841-1879) and A. R. Frémin (fl. 1810-1860)

Six puzzle maps (each 8" x 11") within one decorative cardboard box bearing the title "Atlas": 1) "Mappemonde" (21 wooden pieces), 2) "Asie" (24 wooden pieces), 3) "Afrique" (24 wooden pieces), 4) "Amérique du Nord" (21 wooden pieces), 5) "Amérique du Sud" (27 wooden pieces), 6) "Europe" (26 wooden pieces)

1860 Colton's North America Map Puzzle

J. H. Colton's "North America" (1860) wood jigsaw puzzle

A lithograph puzzle map (29 wood pieces), "North America," handcolored, 29.6 x 24 cm. with wider decorative border; lithograph map, "North America," handcolored, 29.4 x 24.2 cm. with wider decorative boarder; wooden box with sliding top, 6.5" x 8" x 2", bearing title "J. H. Colton’s Series of Dissected Maps . . . In Two Sizes," sides papered with decorative design; small thin cardboard piece of Illinois, on back of which is advertised "A Complete Map of the United States," cut out in state shapes, and available for 10 cents in stamps.

1886 Dominos Géographiques game

"Dominos Géographiques," French game of dominos by Librairie Charles Delagrave, Paris, France. Box: 6.25" x 9" x 1.5". Contains 8 smaller boxes, each having 42 small dominos.

This unique game teaches children the courses of four major rivers in France: Loire, Seine, Rhone, and Garonne. The game is intended for 2-4 players, and is played in the general style of dominos, in which each player either places a iece or draws from the reserve pile. There are eight mini-games contained within the set, each containing 42 pieces within their own box with a set of playing instructions: three for the Loire River, two for the Rhone River, two for the Garonne River, and one for the Seine River. The set includes the original prospectus containing an overview of the game, a list of contents, and diagrams of how the games will appear once assembled. Playing pieces are made of compressed paper board with labels printed in blue and black, depicting the course of the river, the direction of water flow, and key cities along the way. The interior boxes are made of compressed paperboard in a matchbox style with red printed title labels. The exterior box is a combination of wood and compressed pape rboard, with the title label printed in blue, red, black and gold. This game was published by Librairie Charles Delagrave, 15 Rue Soufflot, Paris, which specialized in educational materials.

1887 McLoughlin Bros. United States Map Puzzle

"New Dissected Map of the United States / Copyrighted by McLoughlin Bros., / 1887," jigsaw puzzle.

A puzzle map (28 pieces), 8.5" x 13.5", with decorative cardboard box bearing the title "The New Dissected Map of the United States."

1915 Parker Bros. United States Map Puzzle

"Parker Brothers' United States Puzzle Map / Parker Brothers Inc., Salem Mass., New York, London" jigsaw puzzle

This map puzzle is complete in 54 pieces that are cut on state lines, and comes in the original box. The finished map, measuring 12" x 20", has insets of the Philippines, Hawaii, Alaska, and 'Porto Rico'. The box cover features a full color paper label; the key inside of the cover shows the completed puzzle. Published by Parker Brothers Inc., of Salem, Mass., in 1915.

1964-1965 New York World's Fair Pop-Up Map

"Official New York World's Fair Dimensional Pop-Up Map" (1963?.) Gift of Cynthia Brogdan and Theresa Maturo in Honor of Joseph and Leanor Maturo.

A pop-up map measuring 9" x 12" folded, 12" x 22.5" unfolded. Identifies 24 numbered buildings and structures on the 3-D map. "Map of the Fair" (verso) shows 5 colored areas: Industrial, International, Federal and State, Transportation, and Lake Amusement.

1972 Paris Subway Puzzle

"Le Mētro de Paris (Paris Subway Map) Jigsaw Puzzle" (No. 7205), consisting of 500 interlocking pieces, forming an assembled size of 16". [Gift of Mrs. L. E. Spellman, 21 March 1973.] Copyrighted in 1972 by Gameophiles Unlimited, Inc., P.O. Box 34, Berkeley Heights, N.J. 07922.

1973 Boston Road Puzzle

A "Pic-Me-Up" puzzle, consisting of 100 interlocking pieces, forming an assembled size of 7.5" x 7.5". [Gift of Mrs. L. E. Spellman, 14 January 1974.] Copyrighted in 1973 by Gameophiles Unlimited, Inc., P.O. Box 34, Berkeley Heights, N.J. 07922.

1811 Darton World Map Puzzle

William Darton (1781-1854). " A World, NeatlyDissected" ([London]: William Darton, Jun., 1811). A cartographic object: an original hand-colored double hemisphere jigsaw puzzle map of the world in its original box with original labels, showing the routes and discoveries of all three of the voyages of Captain James Cook. 30 pieces; 2 hemispheres, each 22 cm. in diam., on board 25 x 47 cm. The double hemisphere illustrates very effectively the thousands of miles covered by Captain James Cook sailed over the course of his three voyages to uncharted parts of the globe. Cook's "Tracks" in both hemispheres are shown, with dates, from 1768 through 1779. The South Pole is marked, but without an indication of a land mass. Australia is shown as "New Holland", with "Diemen's Land" attached to the continent, and New South Wales extending the entire length of the east coast. New Zealand's North and South Islands are both indicated in detail. Cook's third voyage was organized to se ek the Northwest Passage; the map shows "Behring's St." The third voyage ended with his death in Hawaii; this is noted on the puzzle, "Owhyhee I, where Capt. Cook was killed 1779". This dissected map was carefully made; the back of each puzzle piece has paper laid down to prevent the piece of wood from warping. With the original wooden box, with three labels altogether: two printed labels on the sliding top; the top label reads Warranted Perfect, William Darton, Inc., and the center label "The World, neatly Dissected". The other label, on the front of the box "The World, From the Best Authorities, 1811". The box, a dark brown mahogany, measures 6 inches wide by eight inches tall, by 1 7/8" deep.

1964 New Jersey Rock Set (and geological map)

Box Cover

Pamphlet Cover

Kemble Widmer. New Jersey Rock Set: A Pamphlet to Accompany a Set of Nine Rocks and Six Sediments Collected in New Jersey / by Kemble Widmer, State Geologist ; James S. Yolton, Chairman, Geology Department, Upsala College; Prepared and Collected by theSstaff of the New Jersey Geological Survey with the Cooperation of the Geology Department of Upsala College (Trenton, N.J. : Bureau of Geology and Topography, 1964). 19 p., 1 folded col. map ; 28 cm.+ 1 box of 15 rock and sediment samples.

1804 English Map Sampler

"Map of Canaan / Susannah Mees / Trowbridge School /1804" [Trowbridge, England?]. Embroidered map, 57 x 47 cm. in frame 72 x 62 cm.

Allegorical Map of the Track of Youth, to the Land of Knowledge (London: John Wallis, no. 16 Ludgate Street, June 25, 1796). Engraved by Vincent Woodthorpe (ca.1764-1822) with hand coloring, wood ribs, brass pin and ivory washer. Purchased with funds from the Historic Map Collection and Graphic Arts Collection.