Johann Baptist Homann started his adult life as a monk, but in 1688 he left his cloisters for the town of Nuremberg, where from 1692 he worked as a publisher of maps, and from 1702 ran his own publishing business. He was well known for his maps and atlases and for publishing in 1707 a representation of the solar system based on the Copernican system laid down by Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) in his book Kosmotheoros. The Nuremberg astronomer and cartographer Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr (?1677-1750) collaborated on this project, providing the explanatory notes for the engraving. Homann had access to the gores published by astronomer Georg Christoph Eimmart (1638-1705), the celestial of which were based on Hevelius's Uranographia (as were Gerard Valk's celestial gores). These gores are mainly found in Homann's atlases, and Dekker suggests that Homann may actually have had Eimmart's celestial copper plates at his disposal.
The only previously known globes by Homann are of the same size and design as the one here offered, differing only in that the sphere comes apart at the equator to reveal a small pasteboard armillary inside. It seems unclear as to whether these were first published in 1705 or 1715 (Dekker & van der Krogt, p89 and p83 respectively).
On his death in 1724, Homann's publishing house was taken over by his son and operated under the name of Homannische Erben until well into the nineteenth century, employing amongst others Georg Moritz Lowitz (1722-1774), who joined the firm in 1746 and became a celebrated globe-maker in his own right, going on to follow Doppelmayr as professor of mathematics at the Aegidien Gymnasium in Nuremberg, and ending his life in St Petersburg, where he was murdered by the Cossacks. Another celebrated figure whose professional life started with the Homann firm was the astronomer Tobias Mayer, who joined when it was under the control of Johan Michael Franz (as "intellectual leader"). Mayer's extensive work on observing the Moon won him respect and an award for his widow (in 1765) from the British government for his lunar tables, in connection with their ongoing search for the "Person or Persons as shall discover Longitude at Sea". Doppelmayr likewise continued his collaboration with the family, his Atlas novus coelestia being published by them in 1742.
Perhaps the most successful of Homann's employees was Matthaeus Seutter (1678-1757), who began work for him as a cartographer (having begun his professional life as a brewer) before setting up on his own in Augsburg in 1707 and becoming Homann's leading competitor.
Homann's influence can be felt far and wide throughout the whole spectrum of German globe-making in the eighteenth century, be it through his direct connection with other makers, or their drawing of inspiration from (or indeed copying) his designs. His meticulous work, and notable commercial success, can really be seen as providing the genesis for the emergence of this thriving industry in Germany in the eighteenth-century and the number of other famous names associated directly with his own bear witness to his status as a sort of forefather to this golden period of German globe production.