Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Search Challenge (4/23/14): What's the date of this globe?

THIS is a busier week than usual.  

I'm teaching five classes this week, including a new class on how to search for, find, and use historical primary source materials.  That was great fun, and I'll write about it soon.  I promise.  

So it was with great happiness that SRS Regular Reader Jon (the Unknown) wrote in with a superb Search Challenge for this week.  

Jon writes:  

"My 9 year-old granddaughter wanted a globe for her birthday. I had one kicking around for years that was old when I was given it. Naturally, I wanted to know when it was made. 
It seems globe makers are notorious for not dating the things, so that users will always think they have the latest and greatest." 

Jon sent in some photos of the globe to see if we could figure it out.  

Today's question is straightforward (but perhaps not so simple).  It's a great challenge, though. 

     1.  What year was this globe made?  

You'd think that the globe's legend would tell you, but no.  However...  All the information you need is right here.  It's just a matter of figuring out how to use the information in the pictures to determine when could have been produced.  

Can you tell us?  

When you figure it out, be sure to tell us HOW you figured it.  We're all interested in learning from your research process!  What was the line of reasoning you used to determine the date here.  

Search on!  (And a big tip o' the hat to Jon!) 


  1. Google Search [ rand mcnally world portrait globe ]
    Command - f on page [ portrait ] "More detailed, the word "Portrait" not yet added to title on surface." So "portrait" was added to a globe title after 1964.
    It must be after 1964.
    Google Search [ list country name changes ]
    Command-f on page [ zambia ] change happened in 1964.
    Command-f on page [ congo ] lots of changes but the list also includes captial city changes. "The Democratic Republic of the Congo changes the name of its capital from Léopoldville to Kinshasa." Globe shows Kinshasa so after 1966.
    1975 The Malagasy Republic changes its name to the Democratic Republic of Madagascar. The globe shows Malagasy.
    The globe is from some time 1966-1975.
    1968 The Kingdom of Swaziland gains independence from the United Kingdom. 1968-1975
    Move down to Central and South America and don't find any apparent changes.
    Legend - National Capitals ✪ other capitals ★. Go back and check previous images.
    Swaziland only has a ★ for a capital and not yet independent, so I can now narrow it down to 1966-1968.
    Nov. 1966 Barbados gains independence and shows Bridgetown with a national star ✪.
    My range is now 1967-1968. Just a few changes to check against the timeline. No changes in 1967 that I can see from the images. The images don't show the countries listed.
    1968 Nauru gains independence, but on the globe shows it a territory of Australia.

    Since we didn't have Google Maps back then, I'm not sure how long it would take for changes to go through publishing a globe. It is not showing the countries that gained independence in 1968. I also noted that the globe doesn't necessarily show when a country has a beginning such as "The Democratic Republic of" or variations of that. I can't check the change to Brazil. Brazil is just Brazil.

    Answer - Globe made sometime between 1967-1968

  2. The globe was made between 30 September 1966 (the independence date of Botswana from the United Kingdom) and 30 November 1967 (the state of South Yemen was formed, comprising Aden and the former Protectorate of South Arabia). Still digging further to narrow down this timeframe.
    [all from wikipidia facts]

    1. French Somaliland is mentioned on the globe (near Ethiopia). This country was renamed the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas on July 5, 1967. So the globe can be dated between September 30,1966 (the independence of Botswana) and July 5, 1967.

  3. The variable I haven't been able to nail down is when the names of independent countries were officially accepted for the purpose of geographic reference.

    For example, the area shown as "The Congo" (on this globe) never actually had that name. Its name changed from Belgian Congo to Republic of Congo (1960) to Democratic Republic of Congo (1964) to Zaire (1971) etc. If the globe was name after 1964, you'd expect to see the "Democratic" name, but it's not used. Other independent country names were, I suspect, also not accepted by geographers at the moment of a country's independence, but rather after some stability or official sanction was demonstrated.

    The United States Board on Geographic Names (US BGN) has maintained a standard list of geographic
    names for the Federal Government for over 120 years. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency maintains the GEONet Names Server (, which is the official repository of foreign place-name decisions approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. But it seems to be intended for current use/reference. I haven't found a historical list of when country names changed in their list.

  4. Great challenge!!

    1. I tried the same approach as I see now Hans has followed. Based on Wikipedia's List of sovereign states by date of formation and browsing Africa's map I got as far as to this range:
    October 4, 1966 (Lesotho indepence) - June, 12 1968 (South-West Africa renamed Namibia)

    2. [ world globe collection ] third search result is Dating World Globes: How old is my globe?. Now the range is tighter:
    October 4, 1966 - July 5, 1967 (French Somaliland renamed)

    My next step would be following one of the links on that page: "Visit the Globe Collectors' Blog" or "Lots of globe/map sites are also listed on:". No time now to do it, unfortunately.

  5. Good day, Dr. Russell, fellow SearchResearchers


    1. Looked your pictures.
    2. Noticed Rhodesia and Rand McNally code A-11000-751-2-2-5.4

    3. Searched


    Rhodesia Wikipedia.
    From 1965 to 1979, it comprised the region now known as Zimbabwe.

    [A-11000-751 globe]

    How old is your Globe?
    1971 - Revolt in Pakistan. East Pakistan becomes “Bangladesh.”

    Our Map still has Pak in the name so was made before 1971.

    [Rand Mcnally globe dating]

    Antiquarian Globes
    Model 110000 751-1-1, Published 1968

    [Rand Mcnally] [Rand Mcnally Globe code reader]

    How to Identify the Age of Rand McNally Maps & Globes

    Dating Globes Site linkde to Omniterrum.

    Dating Globes. How old is your terrestrial globe?

    1968 - Equatorial Guinea. Before Fernando Po.
    1970 - Muscat and Oman merge to become Oman

    Determining the Age of your Globe

    [Randy Mcnall globe 1970.
    Map that images show Oman


    1. What year was this globe made?

    A. It was made in 1969.

    1. I made a mistake. Globe was not made in 1969. I believe it was made in 1966 to be sold in 1967.

      In 1966, British Guyana changed to only Guyana and in 1967, South Arabia changed to Yemen. Therefore, the map is from this time.

      In that time, when was the deadline to make a globe? I am sure is like in our days for videogames but haven't found data that shows when they close and start production.

  6. Best guess, 1965.

    The countries should indicate what year it is, so I made a list of countries that no longer exist:

    Rhodesia existed between 1965-1979
    South West Africa existed between 1915 - 1990 .
    Malagasy Republic 1958-1975
    Somali Republic 1960-1969
    Suriname is still listed as a Dutch colony 1954-1975
    Muscat and Oman 1820-1970
    Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon until 1972
    New Hebrides 1906-1980
    Tuvalu was known as Ellice Island until 1974

    From these, It looks like the globe was made between 1960 and 1965, so I decided to see what I could find out about the globe itself. The Title is “World Portrait Globe”.

    I found a 1964 version from a map dealer that indicates that the word “portrait” had not yet been added
    which means that it should be the next edition, 1965, since that would be at the end of the date range. (They also have an entry for the 1965, but it doesn’t include a picture )

    In searching the globe sites, I also found a list for dating globes (which would have been much easier to start with) confirming that it should be right around 1965.

    1. After reading some of the other posts, I realized that I read my notes wrong (awesome), and my date range should have been 1965-1969. I would vote with those that said 1967.

  7. One approach is to find the year of Independence for a country & Africa has lots to choose from.

    Query [malagasy republic] stood out as a good starting point
    The Malagasy Republic was a state situated in Southeast Africa. It was established in 1958...and existed until the proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar in 1975.
    So I decided to find a chronological list of African countries by year of independence
    Now it’s just a matter of finding the countries searching for names that appear on the globe & those that changed. But wanting an easy search after last week I looked again at the images.
    Approach is simpler & took seconds. Query [rand mcnally company "world portrait globe" year published] and you have 1964. In the result we have
    And if you look at the Plate Number A-110000-751 and compare it to the image provided you see it’s a match. The size matches as well which is why the tape measure I assume.

    1. Here's a newspaper ad August 1964 selling a World Portrait Globe (just checking facts)

    2. I got wondering about the process of making globes. Here's an excellent video to shows us how they're made.

  8. I basically compared the globe to a current map and chased down timelines for changes, informed by my own sense of recent events.
    First Myanmar was Burma before 1989
    Ho Chi Minh was Saigon before 1976
    Oman was Muscat and Oman before 1970
    then I notice the South Arabia next to Muscat and Oman, this protectorate only existed from 1963 to 1967, which is a pretty narrow range.
    I switched over to the picture of Africa, where I further narrowed the window
    Zimbabwe was Rhodesia from 1965 to 1979, so the window is 1965 to 1967.
    Search for timeline of country and capital changes and look at the narrowed time window [ ].
    Barbados gained independence in late 1966 and the Barbados on the globe still has a (Br) under its name. So before late 11/30/1966.
    The Congo gained independence in early 1966 and changed the capitol name from Leopoldville to Kinshasha. Kinshasha is shown on the globe, so after 6/30/1966.
    My best guess for year of manufacture is 1966. This is just best guess. They probably have some slack in when they adopt new place names, so might be 1967.

  9. I'm no match for remmij, but here goes.

    A couple interesting tidbits about the cutthroat mapping industry.

    The Middle of Nowhere: The town formerly in Google Maps which wasn’t there.

    Reverse Cartography

    1. After reading Fred's comment about 'cutthroat mapping industry' I had a look to see if I could find in Scholar any registration of the Plate Number using the # A 110000 751 2-2-5-4; Rand McNally; World Portrait Map thinking there might be a system in place for copyright protection (never thought of the fake name system). But perhaps because they use false names as a method perhaps a registration of copyright wasn't established.

    2. Fred D. - this one is 1998, 1'=~16SM… hard to put on a desk. Might be worth a look next time you venture el norte…
      Eartha (not a Kitt)
      "I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma.
      Eartha Kitt"

      Eartha in motion
      Yarmouth, ME
      also thanks for the heads up on the Dr.D & Drs. Olson talk - engaging, longer view look at the mingling of interests & connections.
      As@Goo Talk
      intro you posted, hosted by Dan
      you might be interested in this given your recent DVICE post -
      at the U of Maryland

    3. NICE remmij. So does this mean you're on G+ now? Did you upgrade your machine? :-)

    4. Herr Fred, leider sind die kurzen Antworten, nein und nein ...
      assorted reasons, but a mishap installing the wipers on the new Glass cranial tool
      resulted in snapping both earpieces off and causing some temporary pupil malfunction from proprietary wiper fluid contamination…
      for the same $, I could have purchased an ounce of gold and flown to Mt. View for a pleasant
      lunch… instead I have titanium and electro-plasto bits of questionable value - need to Goo that later…
      perhaps should have waited for the LUXOTTICA offerings???
      regarding — while you and Dan set good examples, it seems like a lot of extra T&E… and I'm not that social/interactive to begin with…
      afraid my +page would go like these quickly:
      besides, if Ray is right, in another 6-7 years, things will be all Depped-up anyway… and that's less than ⅔s the lifespan of my little PowerBook,
      that is still limping along and protecting/mirroring me with its increasing incompatibility… it's a conundrum.
      where Ray dispenses; e.g.,"Cloaked DNA nanodevices""IBM invents ’3D nanoprinter’ for microscopic objects"
      Astro design
      some visuals:
      01000100 01100001 01110010 01110111 01101001 01101110
      improper application
      ASIMO & some bio-bipeds
      "A" met with Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan first…?
      in NYC
      … maybe I just woke up on the wrong axis of my charging station… and my accelerometer is on the fritz… Koyaanisqatsi (English pronunciation: /koʊjɑːnɪsˈkɑːtsiː/ )
      comes to mind… so much for the short answers…
      thought technology was suppose to free up more time…‽‽ Hoboken weather looks about the same as Mountain View today - bicoastal dysphoria.

    5. … you might get a kick out of this too… even though it is a bit of an anticipation killer - check 2023 & 2045.
      a future in a link
      Sarah met Siri at Katz's
      a graph

  10. am late to this global soiree, but will toss in a small observation:
    initially was going with 1986, but when I looked closer at Jon's Globe, realized it didn't have arms… (Globey
    ha ha)

    interesting little bit that establishes a pre-'69 date regarding the Peking/Beijing change - Peking shown on JtU's Canadian globe…
    (think CMoore has nailed it down pretty well - surprised that Rand McNally date codes aren't more accessible off the maker's cartouche along with ©…)
    State Dept.
    "In 1969, when Washington still recognized Taiwan as the official government of China, Rand McNally decided to use the preferred transliterative name of mainland China`s capital city, spelling it as ``Beijing`` instead of
    ``Peking`` in the International Atlas. That earned it a fast letter from the State Department saying it wasn`t appropriate for the company to do so because it was tantamount to giving formal recognition to the mainland government."

    name changed by Mao, October 1, 1949 - creation of the PRC…

    the favorite Rand McNally I stumbled across - check the Russian borders, 1887 (btw: Pekin then):
    different world, still twelve inches (~7,920 miles @ 1"=660M)

  11. after a couple dead ends - a LOT of globes sold on ebay - i searched for "how to date a globe" and found a bunch of convenient sites that had lists of name changes with dates. the most helpful one turned out to be Narrowed in on Tanzania (1964), Lesotho (1966) and finally Mauritius still being a British colony (changed in 1968), so I would peg the globe as from 1967.

  12. for Jon (the Unknown) - did the earth (globe) move for you?
    Port Hardy
    35 minutes ago 14 minute offset

  13. Maybe I'm being too simple-minded about this but the 'Newberry Library Cartographic Catalog: map catalog and bibliography of the history of cartography' indicates this is from 1964 (

    I entered treated the code on the fourth picture as if it was a book's ISBN, and entered 'A-110000-751 -2-2-5.4' into search field, and this was the top item on the hit-list.

  14. Further to my earlier comment, 1964 is the copyright date for when that model was first produced. It merely provides a terminus post quem. Other clues, of the kind used by other commentators (above), would need to be followed to give greater precision.

  15. This article explains the copyright rules for maps and globes. It mentions that the copyright symbol isn't required but recommended.
    Notice on this site the reference to the copyright, published date and something referred to as publish reference. And notice it says " cf Warner p121; cf Dekker p139-41." which suggests to me there is a book(s).,-McNally-&-Co-s--New-Eighteen-

    1. Thanks for this Rosemary. I briefly looked at today to see if it mentioned maps or globes. The pages I looked at never got very specific.

  16. I narrowed in down to between Oct 1st 1966 (after Barbados gained independence from the UK) and July 11th 1967 (before Angulia gained independence from the UK.)

    I started with the events I knew, that it was between the partition of India (1947-ish) and break up of the USSR (1991-ish). I then looked for a list of border changes, unfortunately I started working with one that I would later realize was not adequate for the challenge -

    I also ran into a red hearing, as this source told me that the Territory of Papua and the Territory of Papua joined in 1949. Since there were three countries on the island I at first placed the date between 1947 and 1949. whoops. but realized that didn't make sense with other things on the map and I kept researching.

    with the source I was using I narrowed it down to between 1964 and 1975, when I decided I needed a better source. I looked for a few minutes until I found another wikipedia article :

    This was more helpful, I read a bunch of entries and narrowed in down to between Nov 1 1966 and Jule 12 1967. There were several dates of map changes marked between those but I was not confident they would have been marked on the map in a way that was visible, so I kept my answer a bit broader.

  17. I googled: rand mcnally world portrait globe, which brought me here:

    This looks an awful lot like that globe with the coated, embossed relief. The map of Africa is also exactly like this with the same country names, so I'll say 1964.

  18. Malagasy Republic existed 1958 - 1975
    Rhodesia: 1965 - 1979
    South Arabia: 1962 - 1967
    Lesotho: 1966 - Present

    Thus I have it narrowed down to somewhere between 1966 and 1967. Of course actual production might be a bit later.

  19. Just curious if anyone researched the process Rand McNally would have used to change country names. What was their source? Were they given lead time about names about to change or were there delays? With country names changing so much did they have the capabilities of changing their production line every month? I suppose if we understood the process of cartographers in the 1960's we could get a more precise solution. Or if the plate number was in a database indicating the exact production date.

  20. late 1964 or early 1965... Tanzania was formed April 26, 1965. Rhodesia is listed as a British colony on the globe. They declared independence on November 11 1965.

  21. Thanks for the great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.

    Flat earth forum