THE gigantic Globe of Mr. James Wyld, Mr., now opened in Leicester-square, is
modelled on a scale of ten geographical miles to an inch horizontal, or six
inches to a degree, and it is one mile to an inch vertical, the diameter being
sixty feet. By means of a gradual ascent at different stages this colossal
figure of the earth, with its mountain and valley, sea and river, may be viewed
from a moderate distance. The objects just mentioned are represented by
numberless raised blocks, and castings in plaster, figured on the interior
concave of the sphere, the fittings up of which must have been both difficult
and expensive. The President of the Royal Geographical Society, in his late
address, stated that Mr. Wyld was good enough to show and explain to him the
whole of his undertaking, with which he was both surprised and pleased.
"Recollecting that only a limited part of a sphere can meet the eye at once, it
occurred to Mr. Wyld, that, by figuring the earth's surface on the interior
instead of the exterior of his globe, the observer would be enabled to embrace
the distribution of land and water, with the physical features of the Globe, at
one view. And in this," added the president, " he has succeeded; from the great
size, the examiner of details is hardly aware that he is gazing on a concavity.
The attempt is well worthy of the projector and of the spirit of the age."
Little need be added to such high authority; but the last
phrase reminds us that Mr. Wyld has himself recorded, that, "but for the
Industrial Exhibition, his work would never have been undertaken. The
congregation in London of the different nations and races of our empire and of
the world was deemed the proper moment for the completion of a great model of
the Earth's Surface, and the realisation of a thought which had for many years
occupied his mind." We are also informed, that, had time or the occasion
permitted, and had obstructions not been offered by some of the inhabitants of
Leicester-square, Mr. Wyld would have endeavoured, by the formation of attached
galleries, class-rooms, and museums, to render the institution still more
available for the allied studies of geology and ethnology ; nor does he yet
abandon the hope of being able to do so. What is already realised, however, is
an important boon, and calculated to supersede to a great extent the inefficient
use of maps.
The Illustrated London News, 1851