From the Atlas des ganzen Erdkreises to the Earth cube by Christian Gottlieb Reichard (1803)
Cartographica Helvetica 43 (2011) 19–27
Friedrich Justin Bertuch (1747–1822) is considered the most successful publisher of geographic and cartographic works in Weimar during the time of Goethe. In 1791 he founded the Landes-Industrie-Comptoir, from which he founded the Geographical Institute in 1804. Under his supervision, numerous atlases, globes as well as textbooks and periodicals such as the Allgemeine Geographische Ephemeriden were developed and published. Together with part-time cartographer Christian Gottlieb Reichard (1758–1837) and astronomer Franz Xaver von Zach (1754–1832), the Atlas des ganzen Erdkreises, nach den besten astronomischen Bestimmungen neuesten Entdeckungen und eigenen Untersuchungen in der Central-Projection auf VI Tafeln was produced and published in 1803. Not only was the projection of the atlas unusual, but also its presentation on six map sheets constructed as a cube – an Earth cube. Compared to the numerous other maps, atlases and globes from the publishers at the Landes-Industrie-Comptoir and the Geographical Institute, this Earth cube was striking. Still, Bertuch was not able to establish this unusual combination of a gnomonic azimuth projection in the realms of geography and cartography.