Matt Binns is equal parts artist, inventor and businessman, and he prides himself on being able to figure out how to make just about anything. So when the Wrigley Company called in 1998 to order a giant globe for a trade show, it didn’t matter that he had never made one.
“Of course I said yes,” he remembers, “not knowing how hard it would be to do. It turns out it was really hard to do and I thought ‘I’ll never do that again!’ because I lost money doing it.”
Back then, Binns earned his living making all kinds of things for trade shows and movies. Now, nearly 20 years later, his business revolves around globes. His company Giant Globes has made hundreds of them, from 3 feet to 10 feet in diameter, though Binns is eager to say that he’ll make any size and type. And while he takes pride in the accuracy of his globes, the customer (and whatever global fantasy they may have) is king.
“Whatever you want!” he exclaimed when I visited his workshop. “Two South Americas, three Australias, you can design your own world. Somebody once wanted a globe with the U.S. 10-percent bigger, so 10-percent bigger it was.”
So what was so hard about making that first globe? Binns explains the process in this Chicago Tonight story. Hint: it includes a very loud device he invented called “the thumper.”
Note: This story first aired on Chicago Tonight on April 3, 2018.