Petrol Company Maps produced for the 1958 Brussels World Fair

In 1958 an Exposition Universelle et Internationale was held in Brussels, epitomised by the Atomium, a large structure shaped like a simple molecule. All the leading Belgian petrol companies produced special or commemorative maps for this event, although they chose quite different aspects.

1958 World Fair map for BP 1958 World Fair map for Caltex 1958 World Fair map for Esso 1958 World Fair map for Mobil 1958 World Fair map for Shell

BP issued a map which lacks a real cover, but instead gives information in 8 languages about 'service BP' or SBP, to be found at any BP service station carrying the white and orange square or by phone. On one side is a basic map of Belgium indicating the SBP service stations by their badge. On the other side are basic tourist maps of inner Brussels and the Expo grounds.
Caltex produced two maps with identical covers. The more commonly seen issue has a 1:640.000 map of Belgium on one side showing only main roads and Caltex stations (indicated by a star). On the other side is a plan of Brussels, showing the location of the Expo in relation to the main roads. No cartographer is cerdited for this issue which is on quite thick paper. This was complemented by a larger format plan of the World Fair itself. This plan map carried the identical cover design, but was printed on poorer quality semi-gloss paper on one side only by WILS SA of Merksem.
Esso issued three versions of their map - one in English and French (shown above) a second in French and German and a third, solely in Dutch. All had a map showing the main roads in Brussels on one side and a detailed plan of the Expo site on the reverse. Both sides were prepared by General Drafting Co in the USA.
In contrast Mobil focused mainly on the parking areas, with a basic map of Greater Brussels locating their service stations.
Finally, Shell produced this sober looking leaflet which offered a fairly detailed plan of the World Fair site. It was only printed on one side and was prepared by De Rouck.

Fina are also understood to have produced a special map folder for the event.

Thanks to Michel Breugelmans for much of the text and some of the images in this section.

A promotional map of Portugal

1958 ACP/Mobil map of Portugal for the World's Fair This map appears to have been sponsored jointly by the Automóvel Club de Portugal (ACP) and Mobil, probably for free distribution in the Portuguese pavilion at the Expo. Wholly in French, it is described as a Map of the state of the roads - special edition for the Brussels Exposition 1958, without indicating on the cover that the map, at 1:600,000 is of Portugal. The logos of both companies appears on the map, with adverts for Mobiloil and Mobilgas on the reverse.

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2000-9

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.