James Wilson (globe maker)
Born in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Wilson farmed with his father and trained as a blacksmith, though had little other formal education. He moved to Bradford, Vermont in 1796 and became interested in cartography and taught himself map making. He invested in an encyclopedia and taught himself engraving and mapmaking with the intention of producing maps for the schoolchildren of America.
When he visited Dartmouth College's European globe collection, he was inspired by a pair of terrestrial and celestial globes. He left determined to produce his own and produced a heavy wooden sphere covered with ink drawings on paper. Though his first attempts were disappointing, Wilson continued on his quest. He sought out an expert in copper engraving and studied with Amos Doolittle in order to master the art of engraving.
In 1813, he opened the first geographic globe factory in the US and sold his initial 13 inch globe for $50. The Wilson globes met with huge success and he produced sets of his own celestial and terrestrial globes for sale. Wilson increased his production to meet demand and with his sons, he later opened a second factory in Albany, New York.
- White, James Terry (1921). The National Cyclopaedia of American Biograph. J.T. White. p. 102.
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