Thriftstorm #5: And Crawling on the Planet’s Face, Some Insects Called the Human Race

Thriftstorm is Captain Video’s secondhand anthropology project. Follow @Thriftstorm on Twitter for the latest news on things people were just going to throw away.

Artifact: Desktop globe.

Description: Per the text panel in the North Pacific, this is Cram’s Earth Profile 12 Inch World Globe, made by the George F. Cram Company of Indianapolis, Indiana.

Source: I… don’t remember, actually. Did I buy this at the junk store? The Long Estate Sale? Did I just wake up one day with a globe?

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Buying a globe is a budget ticket to class. Look at me, the globe owner implies, I have a miniature copy of Earth. There are different types of globes. Buying a globe with political outlines means you are worldly and sophisticated. Buying a globe with color-coded altitudes means you are a grade school teacher. Buying a light-up globe means you don’t understand how the Earth works.

Buying an already-expired globe means your whimsy may yet consume you. Of course I bought an expired globe. It was all I could do not to buy more. Do you have any idea how fast globes eat up space?

KODAK Digital Still Camera

If – as I suspect – nobody throws away a globe, the majority of globes in America are out of date. The big difference in slightly stale globes is whether or not they have the Soviet Union on them; other differences are often more subtle. I used this XKCD comic to date my globe to between 1982 and 1984. (Later on, I found a mark on the bottom that said “C84.”) The older postwar globes show a huge Sahara-centered mass called French West Africa, which is today 10 different countries. I don’t know what the globes made during World War II look like, but I assume they express panic.

My globe is made out of printed cardboard, with slight texture enhancements for mountain ranges. The equator is a strip of tape with a line down the middle of it. Whether or not the cardboard is reinforced, or the tape-equator is holding it together, is hard to find out without ruining the globe. Maybe there are secret continents printed on the inside. We’ll never know.


Next time: The regional happenings and pop culture of meatpacking plants in 1933.