In 1875 a series of replicas of the Mercator globes were made at the request of Jan van Raemdonck, president of the Historical Circle of Waasland, which owned the Mercator collection, and Charles Ruelens, curator of the Manuscripts section of the Royal Library of Brussels (BRB).
These replicas were made possible by the BRB’s purchase, in May 1868, of the last copies of the globes’ gores preserved on a flat sheet. The erstwhile Belgian finance minister, Jules Malou, ordered 200 facsimiles to be published by Merzbach-Falk in Brussels. A few other replicas of the globes were made at the same time. Unfortunately their exact number is not known, but a pair were given by Malou to his history society in 1877.
It was reasonable to think of the 1875 facsimiles considering the excellent condition of the Lausanne globes’ spheres compared with their much older-looking stands. But, in the end, this possibility was ruled out by the analyses performed on the spheres themselves. The UNIL globes were not made in the period around 1875.
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- Printing plates : to print the gores of his terrestrial globe in 1541, Mercator used copper plates for the first time. He would do so again ten years later to make the celestial globe.
- Raemdonck, J. van (1875) « Les sphères terrestre et céleste de Gérard Mercator », Annales du Cercle archéologique du Pays de Waas, vol. 5, pp. 259-317.