Archive for the ‘01 What’s A Map?’ Category

Crippled children study map on ceiling while they lie on table taking treatments…

Innovations in linoleum maps, ca 1942:


Located in the Shrine Hospital in San Francisco.

Map made from 451 individual pieces, and measures 32 feet by 12 feet.

Popular Mechanics, August 1942

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Back in 2008 the word cartocacoethes was first used on this blog to describe “a mania, uncontrollable urge, compulsion or itch to see maps everywhere.”

Counter cartocacoethes can be applied in the world of espionage allowing spies to sneak intelligence out of hostile territories – making maps that don’t look like maps.

Stained-glass windows, butterfiles, leaves, moth heads…


In making the drawings of fortified positions after ascertaining their plans, it was the work of the spy so to disguise them that their true character would not be recognized in the event of his capture by military authorities in the country where he was operating.

The plans of a fortification were first drawn in a regular manner and then disguised. In one case this was done by sketching ostensibly a stained-glass window. To the casual observer the drawing would bear no indication of its importance, but to the spy it was a carefully executed map of a military stronghold.

In another case the spy chose an ivy leaf as a pattern, the veins being drawn to represent the outline of the fortified position; the shading marking the ground sheltered from fire, and heavy spots, resembling worm-eaten holes, the positions of the large guns.

The entire article, reproduced in Popular Mechanics (July 1915) from an article in The Sketch (February 24, 1915):



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It measures 69 feet long and 11 feet wide and required the services of nearly a dozen men to carry it…

Enormous map moving, ca. 1917.



The map shows that portion of the United States between the eastern boundary of Minnesota and the Pacific coast, and the entire Northern Pacific Railway system, including practically every station on the line.

Popular Mechanics, February 1917.

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Chemical smoke puffs represent exploding shells…


Surveyed through field glasses that make it appear miles away, a novel war map at Princeton University makes artillery practice realistic to students of the Princeton unit of the Reserve Officers Training Corps.

…Each student takes his turn at directing the miniature “barrage.” The ingenious map is operated by the instructor, who follows the student’s data and commands to fire. A small adjoining map is criss-crossed with lines showing where shells with various ranges would strike. Over this key chart moves a lever which, placed at the spot where the student’s shot would fall, swings a glass nozzle to a corresponding position on the large map; at the student’s word “fire” a puff of artificial smoke is released.

Popular Mechanics, May 1927

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Iowa is dignified by the largest egg of all…

Innovations in poultry maps, 1931…


An egg map of the United States, showing at a glance relative egg production of each state, ca. 1931.

Each state is represented by imitation eggs of different sizes.


Popular Mechanics, May 1931

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The isotherms nestle together,
The isobars tenderly twine…


Cupid’s Weather Map

If Gladys had sent me no message,
Or the mail from Palm Beach met mishap,
Though I lacked premonition or presage
Or courage the wires to tap,
I am sure I could learn when she planned her return
From one look at the weather man’s map.

You’ll notice, no matter in what light
These loops and festoons you may view,
Wherever she moves, like a spot-light,
A zone of fair weather moves, too.
The breezes of May will be blowing her way
When our cars and our fingers are blue.

One sunshiny patch, set off clearly
In a country with rain-clouds all black,
To-day travels northward or nearly,
While a blizzard descends in its track.
Can I possibly err if from this I infer
That Gladys is on her way back?

No; the stupid old map of the weather
Tells the news in its tiniest line.
The isotherms nestle together,
The isobars tenderly twine,
While the forecast they print bears so rosy a tint
It well might be Cupid’s – or mine.

Philip Loring Allen


Life, February 28, 1907, p. 49

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The revised and expanded second edition of Denis Wood’s Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas, is due May 30, 2013 from Siglio Press.

The second edition of the atlas comes with ten new maps, including Numbers and Roof Lines (below).

The second edition also includes an interview with Blake Butler, as well as essays by Albert Mobilio and Ander Monson. This edition comes swathed in a violet dust jacket and the book itself is daffodil yellow, but it’s the new maps and accompanying essays that are the main attraction.




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