|classroom wall map at Ruby Rose | photo cred: Kendra Aronson|
|Newman's CA Missions map | photo cred: bigmapblog.com|
|Blum's CA Bicycle road map | photo cred: bigmapblog.com|
The first maps were engraved on wood blocks during the Age of Exploration (15th-16th centuries), as explorers (Columbus among them) dispersed to the undiscovered lands. Thanks to Martin Walsdeemuller for putting us on the map-in 1507 he drew the first true world map and was the first to label the New World America! Then came Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia (1588), one of the most popular books of this era, describing the world through cartography. From here, and with advanced printing methods, maps move from elite ownership into the hands of the people-and the wanderlust spreads!
|Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia | photo cred: columbia.edu|
Fast forward to our American roadmap friend, William Rand, a man dedicated to printing maps. In 1856, he opened up a print shop in Chicago, a couple years later hiring Andrew McNally to help man the presses. An iconic partnership is formed, and in 1872 Rand McNally print their first map. During the Great Chicago Fire, Rand even buried his machinery in the sand to keep them safe from the flames!
|maps at Ruby Rose | photo cred: Betsi Clark|
|atlases from Ruby Rose | photo cred: Betsi Clark|
If you have a pull-down map hanging around, chances its maker is AJ Nystrom & Co, America's oldest producer of classroom wall maps. They began on April 1, 1903 (no foolin'!). And James Wilson was the first American globe maker, making his first in 1810! Take a look at your globe: ones with a full meridian (metal ring circling it) are considered more valuable than those with a semi-ring. Use this handy reference to determine how old is your globe?
Maps change and improve as cartographers better understand the world, relying too heavily on them may lead you to nonexistent streets or to thinking California is an island! Remember to always let your conscience by your guide, not your 1650 atlas.
|Vingboon's map | photo cred: bigmapblog.com|