Early World Globe on Ball & Claw Base

This early world globe caught my interest with its ornate ball & claw foot cast iron base and blue colored oceans.

About the Globe Project

When I found this antique globe, the stand was covered with a metallic silver paint. Apparently the person who did the paint job figured they had paid for a whole can of paint and were going to get their moneys worth by using the entire can.

Globe - Before

Globe – Before Refinishing

Using several coats of paint stripper, I got down to the base and discovered the cast iron base had originally been copper plated and had a subtle dark copper patina. I removed some surface rust and “polished” the cast iron/copper with a 1″ fine stainless wheel.

From some research, I determined the base was from a Rand McNally globe circa 1920. It appears that at some point the original 12″ globe had been replaced with a 10-1/2 inch Cram’s Terrestrial globe circa 1946. The top finial was missing and the shaft that holds the globe extended about 1-1/2″ past the top of the globe.

Since the cast iron was copper plated, I cut a piece of red brass pipe that could slide over the existing shaft and “elevate” the existing smaller globe so it would be flush to the finial that rests on top of the globe. I purchased a round lamp finial and recut the threads to match the existing shaft.

To get a consistent color on the base and the new pieces, I heated all the metal parts and applied Birchwood Casey Brass Black to them. I then used a coating of Helmsman clear satin spar urethane to protect the finish.


About the Globe

The globe is marked “CRAM’S UNIVERSAL TERRESTRIAL GLOBE – 10-1/2 INCH – Made by THE GEORGE F. CRAM CO INDIANAPOLIS INDIANA.” It was made sometime during the 1940’s.

Globe Crams Cipher

Features: Oceans are blue in color. Geographical regions muted shades of yellow, orange, pink, purple, and green. Ocean currents indicated with white arrows. Trade routes indicated with red-dotted lines. Large figure-8 form analemma in Pacific. Red International Date Line. Shows Prime Meridian and Ecliptic Line. Time dial at North Pole.

The George F. Cram Co. began in Chicago during the 19th century as a publisher of maps and atlases. They started making globes about 1932 to 1934. In 1936, they moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. They were one of the leading American globe makers in the 20th century.

About the Base

The globe is mounted on an early 19th century Rand McNally cast iron, tripod base with curved legs ending in ball-and-claw feet, the balls resemble globes with latitudes and longitudes; the globe is held by a slanted shaft, topped with a ball finial; the arm that holds the shaft is also a ball-and-claw foot.


The stand is decorated with raised scroll and fleur-de-lys decoration; half globes with latitudes and longitudes above each of the three legs, and the Rand McNally initial cipher embossed in-between each leg. The overall height is about 21″ from foot to top finial.


Rand McNally is an American publisher of maps, atlases, and globes. They began publishing maps in Chicago during the 1870’s, then began making globes in the 1890’s. They continue in business today, specializing in maps, navigation, road travel, and trip planning.


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