From: Jessica Helfand <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 (uploaded to this website: 29 Aug 2001)
Subject: planispheres, "wheel" maps and volvelles

Out of the frame? Click here

My name is Jessica Helfand and I am on the faculty in Graphic Design at Yale School of Art. I am currently researching and writing a book on volvelles (to be published next spring by Princeton Architectural Press) and I am looking for any information on a series of map wheels I have come across, most of which were published in the 1930s by the Rossig Educational Chart Company (NY) and the Chart of Knowledge Company of America (Boston.) I am attaching a sample image and have, at present, more than twenty of these map wheels showing US and European Geography.

I hope also to include a sizeable section on 19th and early 20th-century Planispheres, including those manufactured by Philips, Miller, Whittaker, Whitall and Barritt-Serviss, among others. Because the emphasis (and my expertise) is on graphic design, I am most interested in planispheres that include typography and offer unusual examples of information design (arguably, very early "interactive" information design.) I am including a representative image of the Barritt-Serviss Star and Planet Finder from 1906.

Any information on the history, use or manufacture of these wheels would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Contributions to the discussion direct to the MapHist discussion list (sending to MapHist means sending to 700 people world wide!).