THE gigantic Globe of Mr. James Wyld, now opened in Leicester-square

“THE gigantic Globe of Mr. James Wyld, now opened in Leicester-square, is modelled on a scale of ten geographical miles to an inch horizontal, or six inches to a degree, and it is one mile to an inch vertical, the diameter being sixty feet. By means of a gradual ascent at different stages this colossal figure of the earth, with its mountain and valley, sea and river, may be viewed from a moderate distance. The objects just mentioned are represented by numberless raised blocks, and castings in plaster, figured on the interior concave of the sphere, the fittings up of which must have been both difficult and expensive. The President of the Royal Geographical Society, in his late address, stated that Mr. Wyld was good enough to show and explain to him the whole of his undertaking, with which he was both surprised and pleased. “Recollecting that only a limited part of a sphere can meet the eye at once, it occurred to Mr. Wyld, that, by figuring the earth’s surface on the interior instead of the exterior of his globe, the observer would be enabled to embrace the distribution of land and water, with the physical features of the Globe, at one view. And in this,” added the president, ” he has succeeded; from the great size, the examiner of details is hardly aware that he is gazing on a concavity. The attempt is well worthy of the projector and of the spirit of the age.”
Little need be added to such high authority; but the last phrase reminds us that Mr. Wyld has himself recorded, that, “but for the Industrial Exhibition, his work would never have been undertaken. The congregation in London of the different nations and races of our empire and of the world was deemed the proper moment for the completion of a great model of the Earth’s Surface, and the realisation of a thought which had for many years occupied his mind.” We are also informed, that, had time or the occasion permitted, and had obstructions not been offered by some of the inhabitants of Leicester-square, Mr. Wyld would have endeavoured, by the formation of attached galleries, class-rooms, and museums, to render the institution still more available for the allied studies of geology and ethnology ; nor does he yet abandon the hope of being able to do so. What is already realised, however, is an important boon, and calculated to supersede to a great extent the inefficient use of maps.”

The Illustrated London News, 1851

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