William Bardin (fl.1783-1798) began making globes around 1780, having previously been a freeman of the Leatherseller's Company and of the Girdler's Company. His first globes were of 9 and 12-inch diameter, published on 1 January 1782 in collaboration with Gabriel Wright (fl.1770-1804). Wright was a mathematical instrument-maker who had worked for eighteen years (according to an advertisement of his) for instrument-maker Benjamin Martin. Martin had the plates of Senex's celebrated globes,acquired from James Ferguson, and Wright was probably involved with the publication of Martin's versions of these globes. However, Wright may well have left Bardin before these globes actually appeared as a 1781 advertisement shows him resident at 36 Little Britain, whilst Bardin was based in Hind Court.
In 1790, William was joined by his son Thomas Marriott (1768-1819), apprenticed since 1783 and recently become a freeman. From now on the firm was known as W. & T.M. Bardin, and in 1794 moved to new premises in Salisbury Square, off Fleet Street. Following William's death, Thomas took sole control of the firm, which in turn was taken over by his daughter Elizabeth Marriott (1799-1851) in 1820, after he had died, and then by her husband, S.S. Edkins following their marriage in 1832, and a son of theirs was added to make S.S. Edkins & Son in 1848, until the father died in 1953 and the firm was sclosed shortly thereafter.
The Bardin output consisted of numerous globes destined for other instrument makers' and sellers' shops, and numerous cartouches bearing the name of Bardin were covered with a new name. On their 12-inch diameter terrestrial globes, at least, they did however take the precaution of printing a second note around the southern pole, which was rarely covered.
The Schmidt Collection contains an engraved advertising sheet for the Bardin firm dated 1 January 1798, upon which the 18-inch diameter globes on mahogany stands of this style are priced at 13 guineas. In fact, this was the first time they were advertised, and this example must be of the first publication, bearing as it does the firm's name as it was prior to William's death. They were assisted in the manufacture of these 18-inch spheres by the firm of William & Samuel Jones, themselves established makers of globes and fine orreries. And subsequently the names of Bardin and Jones were to be found in various permutations upon globes of various sizes, as well as those of Ferguson (whose plates were acquired by Wright, via Martin), Dollond, Adams, Hurter and Souter. If it there seems to be a confusing interplay between manufacturers and vendors of globes in London, and those makers who originally designed the copper plates for printing the gores, and those who updated and improved them, that is because it is confusing. The globe industry was thriving in London at this time, as part of the wider and similarly bouyant scientific instrument industry. This strand of the history is elucidated admirably and in far greater detail than here in the paper by Millburn and Rössaak.
The Reverend Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811) was appointed Royal Astronomer in 1765. Amongst his achievements was the British Mariner's Guide of 1763, the invention of the prismatic micrometer, the measuring of the Earth's density (in 1774) and the rectorships of Shrawardine, Salop and North Runcton, Norfolk.