The George F. Cram Company was a globe and map manufacturer. In 1862, George F. Cram enlisted in the Union army, where he probably worked as a topographer during the Civil War. After the war, he returned to Chicago and in 1867 joined his uncle’s map business, eventually branching out on his own. In the 1920s, Indianapolis-based National Map Company acquired Cram and moved it to the city, keeping the name because it was well known. Cram began making globes in the early 1930s.

A 1928 George F. Cram Company delivery truck plastered with an image of a world map, ca. 1950
Credit: Herff Jones Company via Indiana State Library

The company continued to expand for the next several decades, moving to increasingly larger quarters and hiring more employees. Loren B. Douthit bought the company in 1968. During the mid-to-late 1980s, business tripled as retail sales began to catch up with school sales. Previously, about 80 percent of the firm’s products were for classroom use.

In the early 1990s, Cram employed about 70 workers. At this time, all calculations and drawings for its maps were done by hand, with the scale being determined by the size of the paper on which it was printed. Cram sold large wall maps for classroom use primarily in the United States and Canada. Its globes, both machine-made and handmade, were sold worldwide. During this period, Cram was the second-largest producer of globes in the world.

The Douthit family continued to run the company until Herff Jones, Inc. purchased it in 2005. Herff Jones discontinued the manufacture of Cram products in January 2012.

Revised February 2021

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