Monday, November 30, 2009

Neat Things: Globes

Globes definitely qualify as a neat thing! I just listed a vintage beauty in my Etsy shop last night {see photo above, click it to visit the shop}. In researching the age of my globe, I learned a bunch of interesting info on the company it was manufactured by, and thought to myself, "Self, this info would make a rather nifty blog post." I hope you think so, too.

When Luther Replogle quit his job during the Great Depression to make and sell globes, critics thought he’d mapped out a surefire route to failure. But Replogle had more than a novel idea; he had faith in his product.

“Luther came up with the credo that there should be a globe in every home,” says Dan Dillon, 53, co-president of Replogle Globes, the world’s largest globe manufacturer, in Broadview, Ill. (pop. 8,264).

In the late 1920s, Replogle was a salesman for a Chicago company that sold supplies, including globes, to schools. Replogle was convinced that information-hungry Americans would eagerly buy globes for their homes so they could pinpoint places that were in the news.

During the nation’s bleakest economic time, he quit his job, borrowed $500 from friends and family, and founded Replogle Globes in 1930. His wife, Elizabeth, and one employee made the cardboard and plaster globes in their basement and Replogle sold them from his Model T Ford. For three years, sales barely kept food on the table, but Replogle never lost faith in the power of globes to educate and inspire. In 1933, he got his break when he designed an 8-inch souvenir globe for the World’s Fair in Chicago. During the fair, Replogle sold more than 100,000 globes for $1.75 each—and put Replogle Globes on the map.

About the same time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started his “fireside chats,” a series of radio talks in which he often began his remarks about foreign affairs by telling listeners, “Now, get out your globe.”

Today, 150 Replogle employees manufacture more than 100 models of globes, from 4.3-inch diameter orbs that sell for $9.99 to 32-inch handcrafted, illuminated masterpieces that retail for $8,500. The company sells more than a million globes printed in 20 languages each year, and people still get out their globes to track world events.

You can read more about the Replogle company here and here.

All globe items featured in this post were discovered on Etsy--click the photos for more info and to shop!


Handmade in Israel said...

Wow! What an interesting post! My kids love their globe and are always using it to discover 'new' places. Thanks for the little history lesson.
Thanks also for stopping by my blog. I am so pleased you like my cards. Please come again soon!

Alicia Istanbul said...

Wow, I definitely learned something new today. Great post :)

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