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MASONIC GLOBES

 

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Greaves & Thomas now offer a pair of English Globes mounted on a pair of columns. This is in the tradition of pairs of globes being used by Freemasons .

 

History of Globes in Lodges and how they now symbolise all bretheren of our world......

The oldest Lodges did not have globes. Notices of them appear in the Minutes of one Lodge, some years later in the Minutes of another; they are shown in some of the oldest tracing boards and not shown in others; these facts show that the use of the Globes came slowly into use in the first half of the Eighteenth Century. In one Lodge record it is stated in so many words that "they illustrate the universality of the Craft" anywhere under heaven, anywhere in the earth, there is the home of Freemasonry! In the beginning of the Speculative system with the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717 it was expected that Grand Lodge would warrant Lodges only in London and inside a radius of ten miles from the City; it was not until the period of 1725 to 1730 that Warrants began to be issued (and then usually to men who had been made Masons in London) for "Lodges oversee." It is reasonable to assume that this planting of Freemasonry on the Continent and in faraway America must have inspired and stimulated Masons in and around London, must have given them a new emotion, because their horizons were unexpectedly pushed outwards over the rim of the world; if that assumption is valid it follows that the use of Globes began to spread among the Lodges in the period between 1730 to 1750. Globes were hand-made in 1725, and therefore were costly, especially those of glass or silver; in one Lodge book a set is inventoried at £100. Many Lodges received them as gifts from well-to-do members.

In the "Legend of the Craft" included in the Old Charges it is said that the secrets of the Liberal Arts and Sciences were preserved through Noah's Flood in two pillars. It is probable that early Speculative Masons pictured them as having been pedestals rather than pillars, similar to the pedestals they had in Lodge and in which regalia and the Secretary's records were stowed. These two ancient pedestals of the Old Charges were replaced by the two Great Pillars of Solomon's Temple, J and B. It appears that when the Globes first came into use they were placed in whatever spot was most convenient. Certainly there were not two globes on the Diluvian pillars. Solomon's Pillars were surmounted by Chapiters, and archeologists believe that they were made of strips of metal and shaped like baskets, and that resinous wood was piled in them for giving light after dark.

The replacing of the Chapiters by Globes on top of the Great Pillars may have come about for any one or more of at least three reasons: Globes were more convenient when thus off the floor and out of the road; they made the Pillars more pleasing to the eyes; the symbolism of the Globes and of the Pillars combined naturally and easily, etc.

Archeologists found near Herculaneum a villa in which the dining room had an astronomical ceiling which could be turned to make the painted stars inside correspond on any night with the actual stars outside. There are hints that the Egyptians had globes they had spherical geometry and astronomy. In the late Middle Ages globes were so common that the phrase "Terrestrial and Celestial Globes" passed into current speech. This has been used as an argument to prove that before Columbus set sail men knew of the sphericity of the earth; a few men unquestionably did know of it, but the Globes themselves prove nothing. Men who believed the earth to be fiat could have had maps of the flat earth put on a globe because it was more convenient; we print maps on flat paper but it does not prove that we believe the earth to be flat. It is probable that the Speculative Masons used their Globes for no other purpose than maps; nothing is hinted in their Minutes of esoteric or occultistic meanings; but to them the mere map of the whole earth and the whole sky was something to excite the mind because it kept them alive to the fact that their Fraternity which had only a few years before confined itself to so modest a territory, had unexpectedly and almost miraculously burst its bonds, and was extending itself over the world. The Globes belong to the subject-matter of the philosophy of Masonry, but thus far have received meager attention from those who specialize in that branch of Masonic studies, though why this is true it is difficult to know, because that which the Globes symbolize is as massively overwhelming a fact as a range of the Himalayas.

Suppose that speculative Masonry had been confined, as it was first intended to a radius of ten miles from the center of London; if it had, it could easily have limited its membership to London citizens, of the white race, and members of some Christian church; when it became universal, as the Globes symbolize, such localism became impossible. It could not become universal without expanding to other countries, it therefore could not be confined to England, and other countries would stand on a par with England. It could not be confined to one race if it became universal because the world is occupied by three races with some sixty or so branches. It could not be confined to one religion, because there are scores of great religions in the world. This transformation of a local Craft into a world-wide Fraternity was an epochal event in the history of Freemasonry, and none more so; and since it is represented by the Globes they have a scope and power of meaning far outreaching the small attention they have thus far received.

Note. See History of the Lodge of Amity No. 137; by Harry P. Smith; published by the Lodge, Poole, England, 1937, and printed by J. Looker. This is a book excellently to be recommended because in the Minutes quoted by it are so many descriptions of Ritual, customs, etc. written at the time. On page 47 it is told that during a Degree there were exhibited "a pair of 18-in. globes, the perfect ashlar suspended from a Lewis [a species of clamp] and affixed to a winch, an armillary sphere, and a small philosophical [scientific] apparatus, as well as the usual ornaments furniture and jewels." The author makes it clear that in the earliest days symbols had been drawn on the floor with chalk; that later the same symbols were painted permanently on a cloth, or board, or were inlaid in wood or stone. By about 1765 actual objects were used in place of drawn figures. The same impulse which substituted actual objects for drawn figures, led to substituting acted out ceremonies in lieu of what had been an oral lecture. The reference to the two "18-inch globes" is one of many Minutes or other records which substantiate what was said in a paragraph above about the placing of the Globes.

The present Ritual with its Ceremonies, Rites and Symbols can be explained only in the light of its history and in this Supplement that history-as just above-has been drawn from Lodge records, most of them of the Eighteenth Century, and of these the majority are of English Lodges. Records and Minutes of early American Lodges would naturally have been preferred for the present purpose but they unfortunately are few in number.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

The 3inch diameter globes are available hand coloured or printed colour.

 

 

Masonic Globes on Brass Columns Hand Coloured . Ref: GT Masonic Coloured £700 pair + delivery.

Masonic Globes on Brass Columns Printed Colour . Ref: GT Masonic Printed £600 pair + delivery

 

We have also supplied our Mercator Globes and Coronelli Globes for use in Freemason Lodge's.

 

Packing and delivery prices vary depending where on this globe you presently live. If you are interested in any of our globes on our web site, please email us the reference number(s) and state which country you live in and if you require a shipping quote.

 

 

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Greaves & Thomas, fine Globemakers, a potted history.

Award winning Globemakers Greaves & Thomas are a small company based in the United Kingdom, today they make Historical Globes, Celestial Globes, Lunar Globes, Planetary Globes, Facsimile Globes, Replica Globes, Themed Globes, Paper Folding Globes, and Modern Day Globes. Arts Corespondent Jemmy Button looks into their history.

In 1991 James Bissell-Thomas after several years of research, published his first globe (Merzbach & Falk's 1881 globe). The globe was well received, especially because of the ageing techniques developed to lend the globes a patina producing a convincing replica. James Bissell-Thomas believes that this was achieved because of his Art School background, his printing knowledge gained running his own publishing house in the 1980's (Long Tail Prints) combined with his knowledge as an antiques dealer. In 1991 the first globe joined an already existing eclectic range of furnishing ideas which included Giant Tennis Rackets, Rivercraft furniture, Hat Boxes etc. (most are still being made: www.gtstore.co.uk. It was because of James Bissell-Thomas' interest in globes, that the decision was then made to form a collection of globes, spanning cartographic history from 1492 to the present day.

At the time James' knowledge in globes was poor, however a good friend at the Royal Geographical Society pointed out that the following year (1992) would be not only be the 500 year anniversary of the European discovery of the New World, but it would also be the anniversary of the earliest surviving terrestrial globe ~ Martin Behaim's 'Erdapfel'. This globe today resides in the Germanishes Museum in Germany, rightly described by Bissell-Thomas as the 'Holy Grail' of all globes, not just because of its age, but also because of the profusion of data inscribed on the globe, the globe is best described as a medieval geographical census describing the world beyond Europe, listing the origin of spices, metals, traditions, peoples, animals, islands and religions etc. not only this but the globe covered in beautiful illustrations by Glockendon.

Despite the globe being on an elaborate stand, with extremely detailed artwork, Greaves & Thomas still decided it would be wise to republish this fine relic. Appointments were then made with the Germanisches Museum and flights were booked. On arrival at the museum in September 1991, it transpired that the Germanisch Museum had its own globe publishing interest and was not interested in helping G&T achieve their goal. Consequently, they were given a very limited time to study the original globe and reference images they also commissioned from the Museum were later blocked and never arrived. While many would have given up, Greaves & Thomas decided that it would persevere, knowing that what ever they produced would ultimately be compared to a rival globe that would have the Museum's seal of approval. All possible data concerning the globe was sourced and the finished result once again was well received, and is today is considered one of the most important globes in their collection.

In August 1992 when the Martin Behaim Globe was completed, Bissell-Thomas proudly informed the Germanish Museum that despite their reluctance to help, he had succeeded in making their facsimile. Soon after this 3 overseas business men arranged to come and see their Behaim Globe, at the time Greaves & Thomas was trading from 2 small garages in a small muddy yard, then even the two garages were not room enough, and a small 12' white square marquee had been hurriedly erected in the yard as a temporary measure. When the visitors arrived, they spent considerable time inspecting the globe, and then had an impromptu board meeting by themselves in the rain in the muddy yard, they re-entered, and announced that 2 of them were presidents of two globe companies, Rath Globes from Germany and Cram Globes from the USA. They informed Greaves & Thomas that they had been working with the Gemanishes Museum to produce their facsimile version, however upon inspection of the globe, they stated that they were keen to cease production of their own efforts and to market the G &T globe. This they did, with considerable success including selling one example to the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Not only this, but the Gemanishes Museum also ordered a globe for themselves.

Greaves & Thomas have, on more than one occasion, offered to make the Germanische Museum's version, which would be one step closer to the original, but to date they have declined. The Greaves & Thomas version can now be found in numerous museums around the world.

From this point onwards, Greaves and Thomas would only concentrate on globes, initially historical globes but soon branching into themed globes: Holbein's Terrestrial Globe; Shakespeare's Globe; Alice's Celestial Globe and lastly the ludicrous Elvis Presley Mars Globe is another example of the diversity that can be achieved in globemaking, if one cares to explore the possibility of producing something other than the norm.

 

Today alongside their Themed Globes, Historical Replica Globes and their Modern Day Globes, Greaves & Thomas have also added the spectacular 'Hermetic Globe' to their Collection and this will soon be followed by a production version of their amazing Invisible Globe.

 

Greaves & Thomas now also have now formed an interesting collection of globes made in the last 300 years by other globemakers, this 500 strong collection will soon be prominently displayed in the Museum that they are presently preparing on the Isle of Wight. This should be a Mecca for designers as it will show numerous different versions of the same object. Not only this, but they will be using the Sistine Chapel's ceiling as inspiration to make a stunning celestial ceiling, and at the same time show one of the finest optical illusions in the world.

 

A surprising aspect of Greaves & Thomas is that they produce all their Globes in the UK. While numerous companies in the UK now relocate their production to the far east, in order to survive in today's cut throat market, G&T continue to produce a quality product which is well received. Their workforce never more than 5 craftpersons, and the globes they offer are limited by craft instead of number, this is verified in the small numbers of certain globes produced each year ( for example 2-6 Coronelli Globes per year and 5-12 Behaim Iron Stand Versions per year) , consequently there is always a waiting list for the larger more intricate globes that Greaves & Thomas produce. The globes are made using recycled papers and the wooden components for the elaborate stands are also made using reclaimed / recycled timber. Consequently Greaves & Thomas globes will never cost the Earth.

 

Jemmy Button, Arts Corespondent

 

 

 

TO VIEW THE G&T GLOBE COLLECTION CLICK HERE!

 

   
 

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