Anders Ãkerman (c.1723-66) was an engraver with a strong interest in mathematical science, and a member of the 'Kosmografiska Sällskapet' (Cosmographical Society) of Uppsala, Sweden, founded in 1758. The Society, following the French example, was strongly supportive of those of its members who wished to pursue geographical research and publication. As such, with the Society's financial backing, Ãkerman was able to set up a workshop for producing globes, and in 1759 published his first pair, at 12-inch diameter. Further issues were of 4-inch diameter in 1762 (with concave or convex gores for the celestial) and the pair of which an example is offered here, in 1766. Due to careful design of the expensive copper plates, Ãkerman was able to offer his globes relatively cheaply on the domestic market. However, to be able to compete against the more established foreign firms and their imports, the prices had to be maintained at a low level, and despite further financial assistance, Ãkerman died in poverty in 1778. After his death, the workshop was taken over by Frederik Akrell (1748-1804) who enjoyed rather more commercial success, with the joint backing of the Swedish State, as did Akrell's son and successor, Carl Frederik (1779-1862).
Akrell's globes are of interest not merely because they represent the finest Swedish globes of their period (if not the only ones), but also because of his use of pictorial relief to denote mountains and forests, and the detail applied to the oceans. According to Dekker and van der Krogt, who illustrate a similar pair (op.cit. p.81), this was due to the influence of the geographer Torbern Olaf Bergman, one of the founders of the Cosmographical Society. Ãkerman was also one of the first modern cartographers to take note of the long forgotten Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea, which following its initial discovery in 1606 seemed to have been entirely ignored. For the celestial gores, Ãkerman used the Catalogus Brittanicus by John Flamsteed for the Northern Hemisphere, and for the Southern Hemisphere the 1756 catalogue of Abbé Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, including Lacaille's fourteen new constellations.
Although dated 1766, Dekker and van der Krogt state that Ãkerman himself did not produce an updated version of his two-foot terrestrial globe, unfortunately published just prior to Cook's voyages which of course added immeasurably to cartographers' and geographers' understanding of the terrestrial map. From the details on the globe offered, its publication clearly dates from some time after Cook's travels, and this pair are quite possibly the 1779/80 reissues by Frederik Akrell.