The Geographic Educator … a charming puzzle globe, scarce in complete condition

TERRESTRIAL GLOBE 6” DIA[.] GEOGRAPHIC EDUCATOR. New York: Geographic Educator Corp., 1927.
6” diameter table globe on cast metal (brass?) ornamental base with brass fittings, 11” high overall. 12 gores and 2 polar calottes pasted on to heavy Bakelite core, this core consisting of 7 concentric sections, each lifting to reveal a jigsaw puzzle map of one of the continents. Toning and some chipping to gores, and two small strips of clear tape applied around North Pole, but complete and overall about very good.

A charming but short-lived experiment in geographic education, the Geographic Educator opens in sections to reveal six jigsaw puzzle maps of the continents.

“The Geographic Educator Corporation existed in New York City for just two years prior to the Great Depression. The firm manufactured small world globes as educational toys for children. Besides standard globes, Geographic Educator also produced puzzle globes. Made of Bakelite, the first synthetic plastic material, these globes came apart on six lines of latitude. Within each circular “platter” formed by these separations, lay jigsaw puzzles comprised of the countries that make up each major continent. The firm included important events, such as Lindberg’s then recent transatlantic flight, upon the globe. And the toys were marketed as “the invention of the century,” as well as “the world in pieces.” Little else is known about the Geographic Educator Corporation, but the puzzle globes are considered both rare and unique examples among collectors today.” (The Strong National Museum of Play)

The globe is surprisingly scarce on the antiquarian market. No examples are listed on Antique Map Price Record, and Rare Book Hub records but a single example, rather badly incomplete, sold by Ketterer Kunst for 647 Euros in 2010.

Rumsey #0296.