Oil Company adverts on road maps from Germany

More German petrol and oil companies have issued road maps than in any other country of Europe. Nonetheless, a number of companies have also paid for advertising panels on commercial map issues. In some cases, especially with maps from the Munich-based publisher JRO, it is a fine line to determine whether an issue was exclusively prepared for an oil company, or was sold widely carrying advertising. For this reason, the adverts for the German firm Optimol are shown on a page of its own, and this page keeps to examples where the advertising is clearly just that, not full sponsorship of the map.

Cover of late 20s/early 30s Sanwald map Olex advert from late 20s/early 30s Sanwald map

Sanwald was a small commercial publisher of maps based in Munich, with a unique system of marking street names on the exits from towns on its main map, otherwise drawn at 1:300,000. The map shown here probably dates from the late 1920s or 1930 as it was after the introduction of Esso motor oils, but before Standard replaced Dapolin petrol (see below). Section 20 covers the Black Forest and featured an open roadster on the cover; inside there were two advertising panels, with one promoting Olex products. The map was dissected and pasted onto grey cloth.

A booklet of place names was attached, including garages in many towns and villages. From this list, it can be seen that Dapolin then Shell were the most common brands of petrol; Olex and BV-Aral came next followed by Motalin (Leuna). There were very few locations for Derop and Runo, and a single Estolin tank.

1931 AHA Autohilfe Streckenkarte (strip map) 13/14 AHA-Autohilfe GmbH was an alliance of breakdown and repair garages in pre-war Germany. In 1931 they issued a series of streckenkarten (strip maps) - strips 13/14 (shown here) covered the routes from Leipzig-Chemnitz and Chemnitz-Dresden. The maps formed an 8-page booklet, of which half were maps and half adverts, including a front cover promoting Standard-Esso products. Advert from inside of 1931 AHA map
Deutsch-Amerikanische Petroleum-Gesellschaft, the Standard Oil subsidiary operating in Germany, had probably taken the front cover advert as 1931 was the year that they changed from Dapolin to the new Standard and Esso brands. Indeed, the only two filling stations marked on the strip maps are still described as "Dapolin-Tank". One of the internal adverts, for Auto-Neubert of Chemnitz, showed the delightful images above of damaged vehicles being taken in for repair.

early 1930s street map of Leipzig Krofurol/Spidolin advert from 1930s Leipzig map Hromada/Monopolin advert from 1930s Leipzig map BV advert from 1930s Leipzig map

The images above come from an undated Autoführer (road guide) to Leipzig, published by Leipziger Verlagsdruckerei under the direction of Albert Zimmermann. Believed to have been first published in 1929, it consisted of a large street plan of the city at a scale of 1:20,000 surrounded by some 27 adverts. This edition is most likely from the early 1930s, but was certainly before the main road to the South had been renamed Adolf-Hitler-Straße by the Nazis. One advert was for the French-owned lubricants of Spidolin (better known under its French name of Spidoleine), which was distributed by three firms in Leipzig, An advert to the foot of the map listed the six filling stations where Monopolin (an alcohol blend produced by RKS) could be bought from the local distributor Olus-Gesellschaft Hromada & Co., which later published its own map. To the right there was a simple advert for BV-Aral. The front cover of my copy carries a rubber stamp for Derop, which was acquired by Aral in the mid-1930s. Enlarge images: Spidolin, Monopolin, BV-Aral & cover.

ca 1964 Avia advert

The map shown here comes from the rear covers of a JRO-Verlag map, published by Johannes Roth in München. JRO regularly carried advertising on its maps of West Germany in the 1950s-80s, most often for Optimol lubricants, AVIA petrol or a Bavarian chocolate company.
The AVIA advert comes from map #181 Oberitalien (Northern Italy) and possibly dates from 1964, several years before AVIA started selling fuel in Italy. Several different AVIA adverts can be found on JRO maps.

The German company DEA relatively rarely issued sheets maps in the 1950s and 60s, instead publishing a small format atlas. However it was a prolific advertiser on Falkplan city maps, and an example is shown on the DEA page. Shell have also been frequent advertisers on the rear covers of Falkplan maps of German cities as shown in this 1991 example from Hannover which has a city plan pasted into a side-folded card cover. Block House restaurants and Leibniz biscuits bought advertising space on the map itself, and several local businesses were listed in the gazetteer.

1991 Falk-plan map of Hannover, with Shell advert on rear

Falkplan later developed its maps with an "Extra" format, where part of the reverse of the map was given over to a full colour district map. For the Celle map shown here, this was at a scale of 1:150000 and included Hannover, compared to 1:17500 for the main town plan. As before, the map was pasted into a top-folded full colour card cover, with a small gazetteer also pasted into the inside cover. Unusually, the Celle map carries a bespoke rear advert for Mobil, which had its German headquarters in the city. As Mobil sold no fuels in the country this promotes its activities with crude oil and natural gas. This example is undated but marked as the 5th edition, probably from around 1999.
Enlarge front or rear cover.

late 1990s Falk-plan of Celle Mobil advert on late1990s Falk-plan of Celle

There are separate pages showing petrol company adverts from selected other countries in Europe:

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