Greek family business preserves Art of Handmade Globes

Globes of different sizes, lying on the floor, hung on shelves or on the ceiling, at different stages of production – either white, with their maps drying on strips of paper waiting for their assembly, or ready for delivery to the customer. This is the scene in “Cosmic”, the first Greek company that make globes in different sizes and colors.

The company, surviving industrialization as the years went by, started operating in the colorful neighborhood of Psyrri in the center of Athens. And today it is situated in Markopoulo, a suburban town of the Greek capital.

“The business was founded in 1951 by my grandfather, Michael Koimtzis. He was the first craftsman in Greece who started making handmade globes,” Michael Koimtzis, 32, the grandson of the founder, told Xinhua.

“In 1980, my father took over the business and in 2012, when I came back from my studies in Scotland, I began working in the business. Two years later, I revived the art of handmade globes that had stopped in about 1985, due to the automated production,” he said.

Within a short span of time, “Cosmic” was able to fill a gap in the Greek market of the era and effectively to have the domestic monopoly on globe production.

It soon expanded in the markets of the Balkans and Cyprus.

The products come in two dimensions and 15 different colors, but the map design and everything else, such as the names, the dedications, the photos or logos, are chosen by the customer.

For a globe maker, patience is the prerequisite for success.

The map is divided into strips of paper, which are cut by hand, and then stretched over and sticked on the globe, again by hand.

After finishing it, the artisan covers it with a kind of varnish, then assembles it, put the protractor and the wooden base and it is finally ready. The minimum delivery time is one week.

“Besides the classic globes that illustrate the Earth, we manufacture other planets like Mars showing up mountains, valleys, craters and landings of various space missions, with the exact coordinates. It took me about 3 months to draw the map of planet Mars, because the data were carefully gathered by NASA”, Koimtzis said.

Globes and maps are constantly updated, always keeping up with the latest developments and changes in all the states and areas of the planet.

For the people of the company though, each globe is not only a plastic ball or a floor lamp, it’s an educational product as well.

For many people, it has also an emotional dimension, because it is something that links the past with the future, meaning all the places people have visited and all those they still want to see.