Gifted by Count Rumford to Samuel Williams (1743-1817), Third Hollis Professor of Natural Philosophy, Harvard, circa 1775.
A very similar pair of globes, thought to be the only other pair of this size on stands, as opposed to numerous pocket globes by Ferguson, are in the collection of The British Library Map Collection, Inv. Maps C.3.a, and illustrated in John R Millburn, Wheelwright of the Heavens - The Life and Work of James Ferguson, FRS, p. 88, fig. 28.
James Ferguson, (1710-1776), was born in Scotland and, from an early age, was interested in all things mechanical and astronomical. As a young man he made a living by repairing clocks and machinery. He was also a talented artist and by 1734 he was painting portaits in Edinburgh. However, he continued with his interest in science and by the 1740's he was in London painting portraits and presenting scientific papers. In 1748 he began teaching and lecturing on astronomy and science. He started globe making after acquiring the copper plates for printing gores from Mary Senex, widow of the late John Senex in 1755. It included all the gore sizes apart from the 3-inch globe. For this reason he designed and made a 3-inch pocket globe of his own. In 1757 the globe making business was transferred to Benjamin Martin. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1763.
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