Navigating Before Road Maps | The Tools of the Trade

Navigating Before Road Maps | The Tools of the Trade


Hi this is Charlie Neuschafer at New World Maps and today I’m going to show you something you’ve never seen before. It’s
a prequel to Google Maps, MapQuest and your iPhone where you punch in a ca…
command Siri to give you specific directions. This will take us back count
in 110 years and along the way, I just want to show you what motorists used to use.
They’d stuff them in the glove compartment.
These were fold-out road maps. The first was published by Gulf Oil Company in
1914. They were given away at gas stations by the millions for 70 some odd
years. Before that, motorists turned to something called a “Blue Book” or a set of
strip maps with specific directions along particular routes. So instead of a
fold-out map they would have a book. And this example is from the California from 1913. And there’s another example here. This is a Blue Book from 1910. Once again
a series of written instructions: turn left at the watering trough, follow the
trolley tracks, and that kind of thing. So these, these proceeded foldout road maps.
The “watering trough” because there were more horses than cars on the roads back
then. But before that, starting at around 1905, H. Sergeant Michaels created something
called a “Photo Auto Guide.” He then sold the rights to that to Rand McNally so in
the early aughts 1909, 1910, in that period, Rand McNally published a series of Photo
Auto Guides. And these were books for very specific routes. In this particular
case, it’s a Photo Auto Guide from Chicago, Rand McNally’s home office town to Lake
Geneva, Wisconsin. And inside are a series of black-and-white photographs
with arrows on them so that you in your car, *vroom* big ol’ car back then, could
follow along as you drove from Chicago to Lake Geneva. Each intersection is
pictured with an arrow drawn on the photo, little bit of directions down below. Lots of
fun here to look back at these old photos. The book also has a couple of
hand-drawn maps in it. These are scarce. You don’t, you
don’t see these for sale anywhere. You have to go to a library usually if you
want to see one. They also have signs about speed limits, because you drive in
the car and making and shifting the gears and all the other things involved
in, in 1909. Speed limits were, they were somewhere between five to maybe eight
miles an hour and there’d be pictures of the speed limit signs in these books.
This is another one. This is a Photo Auto Guide from Buffalo to Albany. And very
conveniently they have Albany to Buffalo, in case you want to get back. Inside, once
again, some ads for products of the time, photographs with arrows on them, and
directions fold out, some fold-out maps. These, these are a lot of fun. And they,
for all the world they’re very much like what you’d see today on the GPS or on
Google Maps. Except they’re not digital, they’re analog. And they’re just one more
reason why maps and old road guides are so much fun. And I hope you’ve enjoyed
this little video. Thanks, happy mapping.

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