What do toys, novelties, and banks have to do with collecting globes. Where is the line between a “toy” globe and a serious globe meant for study? Well today we’re going to find out, or more likely we will blur the definitions more, and come out even more confused than when we started. Anyway lets dive in!
J Chein was an American toy company specializing in tin toys from the early 1900’s until the late 1970’s. Based in Burlington NJ this company produced several globe related items that bear examination here:
1930 J. Chein tin globe J. Chein 1950’s U.N. globe J. Chein globe bank
All of these items are common and readily available at flea markets, garage sales, and of course eBay. All of these have simplified but accurate maps that a child learning geography could both comprehend and benefit from.
Let’s look more closely at the 1930 globe. Toy? Serious globe? Let’s examine this toy in the context of it’s creation, this globe began manufacture very late in the 1920’s, and continued with regular geographic updates until at least the 1950’s. At 4 inches diameter it is small but surprisingly accurate for what it is. I look at this globe and I think that in the 1930’s when the bulk of these were made a parent, perhaps suffering financially from the great depression might decide to buy this “toy” for their child knowing that it could, and would serve double duty as a functional globe, notice the graduated 1/2 meridian. J. Chein certainly saw this toy as a hybrid product. Perhaps the least expensive way to give a child a globe at the time.
Continuing in the same vein this more elaborate J. Chein UN globe from the 1950’s is also in my mind a hybrid product, probably even more tilted toward study than toy. Just think of the political aspects this globe addresses, combine that with an inexpensive easy to update tin litho construction, and as a company you’ve got a winner on your hands.
On the above right we have a J. Chein globe bank, there are very easy to come by, were many times used as give aways by local banks, and certainly tilt towards the toy category. Fun with a purpose I think because the maps on these little banks were regularly updated to reflect current geography.
In the same vein as J. Chein was another toy maker turned globe producer Ohio Art. This company will be familiar to all of us reading this because Ohio Art makes the ultra famous Etch-A-Sketch toy.
Long before Etch-A-Sketch was a household name this company, based in Bryan Ohio ( still to this day) made tin lithographed toys, including globes. In fact Metal Lithography is their largest market, not toys. Below I show an example of a Tin Lithographed globe from Ohio Art:
Ohio art Atlas globe
This stamped tin globe is from the 1930’s and features a deco style Atlas supporting the world. A geographically accurate globe, simplified for a child’s level of understanding. A toy, yes, but also a viable teaching apparatus, notice the full graduated meridian.
Well if toy companies are going to start making globes, then logically globe manufactures are going to start making toys. That is exactly what Replogle Globes did in the early 1950’s they came out with a series of globe related toys, but as we will see in a minute their focus never strayed too far from learning.
Below I want to show you an example of a couple of Replogle’s toys that all hit the market in the early 1950’s First up a simplified metal lithographed student globe:
6 inch lithographed Replogle globe
This inexpensive globe was much more colorful and more simplified than Replogle’s standard globe offerings of the early 1950’s it also included a booklet that featured games, and globe related exercises that could be performed with the globe.
Replogle was not particularly successful with their line of toy globes and globe games, nice examples of these are not nearly as easy to find as other globe toys. Below is another example of their foray into the novelty market. Below I’m showing an example of Replogle’s Globe Grams game. This was a step even further into toys for a company that really had no history in the toy business. A fairly straightforward game using the globe as a spinner as well as game board. I can’t imagine many of these survive in complete condition.
Replogle Globe Grams
So are these objects toys that happen to have a globe as part of their make up; or are they globes first onto which a game or learning activity has been grafted? Isn’t a globe not meant for learning in it’s purest form anyhow?
Do any of these objects featured in this post belong in a globe collection?
How do we as collectors process this information?
I think it’s simple, if these appeal to you great look for them,and collect them. Be aware these are not rare, not in the least so focus your energy on finding the best examples of these as possible, you may even be able to score ” in box” examples eventually!
In my opinion some of the globes here do indeed belong in my collection of globes. I’m rather partial to the very first item we looked at the small J. Chein globe, tin or not I really think that this globe is in fact a great example of the American free market. What do I mean by this? Well when times get tough the tough get going right! Here a resourceful toy company saw a chance to tap a completely different market. When J. Chein made it’s 4 inch globe, and then took the same cartographic lithography and applied it to banks it opened two new avenues for their products just in time for the great depression to hit. Did globe banks and 4 inch student globes “save” this company during those difficult times? I have no idea, but judging by the number of surviving examples of these two items they certainly did their part! I’m still looking for just the right example of this globe, many survive so there is no need to settle.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, Kyle….you’ve forgotten the grandaddy of all globe toys the Geographic Educator Puzzle globe……. not to worry I have not forgotten it, that toy is so unique and the company behind it such a flash in the pan that it deserves it’s own separate post…..to be continued……….
Research notes, Ohio Art’s own website provided their own history, Wikipedia provided J. Chein’s history