The (good ol’?) days when you could walk into a service station and select a paper map produced by the shop’s respective oil company are over. When was the last time you got a map for free—or got a map, period?
“It wasn’t until after the great Westward expansion in the United States that road maps came into their own,” notes Collectors Weekly. The earliest maps designed for traveling by car appeared during end of the 19th century. “These maps were generally included in larger guidebooks featuring information on sightseeing and regional destinations.”
Soon maps were a household item, ephemeral yet retained for years. Thanks to researcher extraordinaire Jeff Roth, below is a collection of vintage road maps from all over the world. Each follows the American example of art on the front, and vital info within after the map has been carefully unfolded.