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Spinnable 3D Models of the British Library’s 16th Century Globes

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 13, 2020

The British Library has digitized some of their 17th & 18th century globes into 3D models that you can explore and spin online (and in VR). These are seriously cool at fullscreen.

During the so-called ‘Age of Exploration’, expanding European geographical and astronomical knowledge fuelled the demand for maps and sea charts. It also inspired experimentation in the art of globe-making, and the first half of the 16th century saw the production of several models, both hand-painted and printed.

Printing made it possible to produce globes in greater numbers at lower cost so they could be more widely distributed. The printed globe, terrestrial and celestial, soon became established as the standard type of globe, sometimes called the ‘common’ globe, and the methods of manufacture changed surprisingly little from the mid-16th century until the 20th century.

The one at the top of this post is my favorite: Willem Janszoon Blaeu’s Celestial Globe from 1602. (via @john_overholt)