New pages

New and improved pages on the
European Petrol Road Map Web Site

New in 2004:

Most recent updates to this site

Shell's Motorists' Guide to London
Shell sold a spiral bound Motorists' Guide to London in 1951, designed for use by provincial motorists coming to see the Festival of Britain and this has been selected as the final update to the website for 2004. Over the past year it has grown by over 200 images, 13 pages and 23 additional brands. (Updated 30 December 2004)

Road Maps from Hungary
The third new page looks at petrol company road maps of Hungary. Examples are known from both before and after the period of Communist rule, and Hungary was alone in the Soviet bloc in permitting a small number of Western branded filling stations during the Cold War era. (Updated 28 December 2004)

Road Maps from Greece
Another new page looks at petrol company road maps of Greece. However as Greek maps are hard to find in Northern Europe, the page only shows 9 examples, all of which were issued since 1960, including two that are new to this website. (Updated 27 December 2004)

Road Maps from Ireland
A new page has been written showing the development of petrol company road maps in Ireland. In all, there are some 15 map images, including three that are new to this website. (Updated 26 December 2004)

More Belgian Gulf
Gulf issued numerous maps of Belgium and Luxembourg, and I have added a different design, probably dating from the late 1960s. (Updated 24 December 2004)

La Mure
La Mure traces its history back to an anthracite mine near Grenoble in South Eastern France in 1808. Around 125 years later it moved into petrol distribution and operated a regional chain of service stations until 1967, when it switched its locations to the new Elf brand. A 1965 La Mure map has now been found of South-East France. (Updated 24 December 2004)

Top of PageGeneral site maintenance
This website is nearing its 6th birthday, and if there are fewer obvious updates, I am continuing to check corporate history for accuracy and makes other minor updates. Among the most recent small changes, the Adler images have been refreshed, I have discovered a single volume pulling together the first four years' Our National Heritage, and I have corrected some of the dates on BP UK page, as it now appears likely that there were several gap years for which no maps were produced. (Updated 22 December 2004)

More maps from Homberg
Although it supplied under 40 service stations, Homberg maps from the 1950s and 60s may occasionally be found, and two new designs have been added to the site. On another page, the history of fellow German independent Brenntag has been expanded following the receipt of new information. (Updated 16 December 2004)

Comparing maps of Husbands Bosworth
Motorists rely on maps to be accurate representations of the roads on the ground, taking into account the scale at which the map is drawn. Although cartographers occasionally introduce deliberate errors, most of the time even the cheapest (or free) maps made available have met this aim admirably. One map that allows us to test this - and how it has stood up to the test of time - is the 1974 Shell map series produced by George Philip & Son, notable for showing an aerial representation of part of the map on the cover. This page compares several maps, mainly from Shell, with the actual layout of the roads around the village. (Updated 6 December 2004)

Advertising panels on a 1926 TCI map of Northern Italy
Early maps were often complex affairs, carrying adverts from several - sometimes competing - companies. One such example is a 1926 Touring Club d'Italia (TCI) map of Northern Italy that includes adverts from the domestic lubricant companies of Oleoblitz, Touring Oil and Globoil. (Updated 19 November 2004)

A Castrol map of France
Castrol has been one of Europe's leading brands of oil for several generations, but up until now I have only seen Castrol maps from its home country, the UK. I have now been sent an image of a 1969 Castrol map of France. (Updated 14 November 2004)

Maps from World's Fairs & Expos
There have been almost 30 World's Fairs (or Expositions Universelles) since the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London's Hyde Park. Road maps or site plans have been produced by petrol companies for around a third of them, with the fairs held since the 1930s in North America well represented. This new page shows some 20 map images, mainly from the USA, in an overview of the subject to complement the page dedicated to the 1958 Brussels Expo. (Updated 7 November 2004)

The Shell Golfers' Atlas
One of the rarer thematic maps was produced by Shell's British subsidiary in 1968. This was the Shell Golfers' atlas, which combined 32 pages of basic road maps with summary information on the facilities available at 1,464 golf clubs. (Updated 27 October 2004)

Top of PageGasolin's pictorial maps
The German company Gasolin produced a number of Bildkarten (pictorial maps) in the early 1950s, using colourful maps with hundreds of pictures of local buildings, famous people and agricultural or industrial produce. An extract is now shown from their 1954 map of Northern Germany - which has over 60 sea and sunbathers! (Updated 24 October 2004)

A Shell street atlas of Belgium
In 1986 Belgian Shell sold a Falkplan atlas of 50,000 streets, with 86 double pages of maps and a full street index covering almost all the country. (Updated 24 October 2004)

A post-war Boie map
In the early or mid 1950s, Boie - which still sells petrol as an AVIA participant - issued a small format map of Northern Germany, primarily as a location map for its filling stations, using cartography by Falkplan. (Updated 24 October 2004)

Shell's 1896-1964 Olympic Calendar
Although not a road map, I have added Shell's "1896-1964 Olympic Calendar", a sliding cardboard device, the same size as its maps, that allowed users to find the winners and times for 152 Olympic events. (Updated 16 October 2004)

Maps from Kraftex/Kraftin
Kraftin (originally Kraftex) operated service stations in the Rhineland of West Germany from the late 1950s until 1973. Three maps are shown from the company, covering different areas and bearing different logos. (Updated 12 October 2004)

A slightly later Carbugaz map
Elf's LPG activities were branded Carbugaz and although their location first map was only published in 1999, by the summer of 2000 the map had reached its third edition, reflecting the rapid growth of LPG outlets. (Updated 11 October 2004)

Pre-war Duckham's booklet maps
Duckham's Oils issued booklets combining road maps from Bartholomews with a 32-page lubrication guide for much of the 1920s and 30s, and three examples have been added to the page on UK lubricant blenders. (Updated 10 October 2004)

A combined Mex-Maxol map of Ireland
The Irish independent brand Mex started issuing maps in the 1950s, and gradually between the 1960s and 1980s switched its branding from Mex to Maxol. A map for 1967 is the first to be shown on this website that carries both Mex and Maxol names. (Updated 9 October 2004)

Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic and Slovakia
A new country page has been created for Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with 20 new images including many from recent maps. However it also includes three from a mid-1920s Autoclub map that advertises Naftaspol benzin. (Updated 3 October 2004)

Top of PageDating Esso UK Road maps
I have been carrying out some housekeeping on the site, in order to improve the presentation and navigation. Whilst updating the page on how to date 1950s Esso maps of Britain, I have added a couple more rear cover images from their cruising guide to the Norfolk Broads and Rivers. I have also added an image of a reproduction map from the Continental tyre company of Germany which, although a little outside the scope of this website, may be of use to map collectors in general. (Updated 25 September 2004)

Tramin GmbH supplied a small chain of filling stations from its base at Mülheim-Ruhr in the 1960s, when it issued the regional JRO map now shown on the site. Subsequently it appears that it made an ill-fated attempt to expand, culminating in bankruptcy in 1983, although a few Tramin branded outlets survive to this day. (Updated 23 September 2004)

Czech issues of Former Yugoslav Republics
After Yugoslavia collapsed into civil war, tourism virtually stopped. But with the return of peace, visitors ventured back to the Adriatic coast and Slovenia and Croatia have become sufficiently popular destinations with Czech holidaymakers that Shell and Aral's Czech operations have added them into their map series. (Updated 20 September 2004)

The second oldest oil company map
It is widely known that the Pratt's Perfection Motor Spirit atlases from 1905 are the world's oldest oil company issue maps. Although there are some North American claimants, the second oldest may well be a boxed set of 35 small sheets of England & Wales issued by Duckham's lubricants in 1910. (Updated 16 September 2004)

Campus Oil in Ireland
My mother recently told me that she had brought back a map from a coach trip abroad, where the coach had stopped to refuel with diesel, but couldn't remember which country or brand of petrol. I didn't expect that it would turn out to be a brand not previously known to have issued maps, but was proved wrong: it came from Campus Oil, an independent firm operating in the Irish Republic. (Updated 15 September 2004)

An atlas from Milag
Milag operated in Germany in the 1930s, but nothing is known about the company other than the information that can be gained from a combined atlas and calendar. (Updated 7 September 2004)

Two Shell atlases from Poland
Shell has often issued road atlases in its main markets, and has carried on the tradition in some of the new eastern European ones. Two examples of Shell atlases are now shown from Poland, dating from 1994 and 2004. (Updated 25 August 2004)

The first 2005 map is already on sale
Although most of the companies on this site no longer sell maps (or may not even exist any more), a few firms have remained faithful to the branded road map as a marketing tool. One particular firm is the leading German brand Aral which - even though it is now owned by BP - has already started selling its 2005 road atlas. (Updated 22 August 2004)

Top of PageThe earliest known Swiss petrol company map
The oldest Shell map of Switzerland appears, from its style, to date from the late 1920s and may have originally been pasted into the back of a book or tour guide. (Updated 20 August 2004)

The State of the Roads in Portugal - for the Brussels Expo
One of the more unlikely maps to have been sponsored by a petrol company (Mobil, in conjunction with the Automóvel Club de Portugal) was a map in French produced specially for the 1958 Brussels Exposition but showing road conditions in Portugal. (Updated 19 August 2004)

A 1950s DEA map prepared for Edmund Martin, Nürnberg
In the 1950s the German company DEA appears to have grown rapidly by licensing its brand to independent distributors. One such firm was Edmund Martin of Nürnberg and its name appears on a slightly customised version of a DEA sectional map of NW Bavaria. (Updated 18 August 2004)

Viscobil's 1953 Auto-tourenkarte
The German lubricant company Viscobil issued a 48 sheet atlas showing an equal number of touring routes across West Germany in 1953. In addition to two images on the Viscobil page, a third of the area around Freiburg im Breisgau is shown on the special page dedicated to maps of that city. (Updated 23 July 2004)

A Murco sheet map of England and Wales
Murco was a regular issuer of sheet maps in the UK, although as the chain was quite small, all its maps are scarce. Initially dividing the country into two, it consolidated onto a single sheet of England and Wales in the 1970s, and it one of these maps that is now shown for the first time. (Updated 22 July 2004)

Petrol Company Road Maps from Denmark
I have finally completed the Denmark page, showing some 23 maps dating from 1933 to 2002. Danish maps are characterised by a tendency to be used to locate filling stations as well as, in earlier years at least, to use unusual scales. (Updated 11 July 2004)

1950s Caltex Spiral atlases from Sweden
Several Swedish companies have used folding spiral atlases with around 10 pages of quite detailed maps inside, marking their service station locations. The earliest known dates from the late 1930s, but Caltex was a regular issuer of such maps for all of its period as a Swedish petrol brand. Two early 1950s examples, differing slightly in format, have been added to the website. (Updated 8 July 2004)

2003 Jet atlas from Sweden
50 years later than the Caltex atlas, Jet has for the first time switched from a sheet map to an atlas that shares certain characteristics of the Caltex atlases. True, it isn't spiral bound, and has a larger A4 format, covering all four Nordic countries, but the concept of an inexpensive softback atlas location marking filling stations, with selected town plans at the rear is quite similar. (Updated 8 July 2004)

2000s Esso atlases from Germany
Further South, in recent years Esso Germany also appears to have cut back on sheet maps, but instead to have occasionally issued softback atlases, sold for less than the price of a single sheet map. Although an example from 2000 has been shown on the German overview page for several years, it - and a later version - have now been added to the Esso Germany page as well. (Updated 5 July 2004)

An atlas from TotalFinaElf
Continuing the theme of road atlases marking service station locations, the site also shows an example for truckers. Immediately prior to the new Total logo, introduced in 2003, TotalFinaElf was having to use three names and logos (Total, Fina, Elf) on materials produced for use several countries. The company's Eurotrafic card atlas of Europe therefore gave equal prominence to the three logos, even though Fina and Elf had been withdrawn from several markets. (Updated 27 June 2004)

Two more recent maps from Hydro & Uno-X
Of course not all recent issues are of atlases. Scandinavia remains one of the last bastions of the oil company map, and I have added examples from last year for Hydro and its secondary brand, Uno-X. Hydro operates in Denmark and Norway through a joint venture with Texaco and I hope to be able to add recent HydroTexaco maps from these countries in the future. And the long-awaited page on Denmark is nearing completion... (Updated 22 June 2004)

The new Total image
In 2003, Total took a decision to phase out the remaining stations under the Fina and Elf brands acquired in the late 1990s, and instead to unify under an updated Total image. This is now shown for the first time on a 2004 map of Belgium. (Updated 22 June 2004)

Top of PageTwo more recent maps from Power in Belgium
In 2002 Power issued a map publicising its credit card (left) and marking Power, AVIA and Octa+ locations at which it could be used. In the following year, Power sponsored a map for the 'Ronde van Vlaanderen' cycling race, marking the route and Power locations in Flanders. These have both now been added to the site. (Updated 15 June 2004)

Older - and later - Shell maps from Denmark
The page dedicated to Shell maps from Denmark, where there has been an almost unbroken record of Shell maps issued for almost 70 years, has been extended to add examples from 1933 (a hardcover atlas) and 2001. (Updated 13 June 2004)

Gulf's 1965 Finland map
Gulf's 1965 Finland map has now been added to the Gulf page. (Updated 8 June 2004)

A 1970s Deltin map
Deltin maps are relatively uncommon, and up to now the site has only shown an example from each of the 1950s, 60s and 80s. The gap has now been filled with a 1972 edition, as always covering just Bavaria at a scale of 1:250,000. (Updated 7 June 2004)

Immediately post-war German Esso maps recycled 1938 issues
Due to the war and subsequent reconstruction, there are no maps of Germany known from the 1940s. However it appears that some pre-war Esso maps, showing the old borders, were recycled with the post-war borders overprinted on the cover with the explanation "Kartenausgabe 1938" (1938 map edition). (Updated 31 May 2004)

1938-9 Shell maps of Germany
I have added two more images from the 1938-9 Shell series of Germany, to explain a little more about how they reflected the border changes from that period. (Updated 29 May 2004)

A map from a Fina dealer?
Almost all the road maps shown on this website were issued by the petrol company hose logo they carry. However a very small number of maps have instead been issued by independent dealers, or groups of dealers, and a recently discovered Fina map of Belgium was probably issued by a large service station (truck stop) close to the German border, for the benefit of lorry drivers entering the country. (Updated 18 May 2004)

A more recent Maxol map
A more recent Maxol map has been added to the site. (Updated 6 May 2004)

Snijders BV is a large Shell subsidiary based in Oosterhout, Netherlands which issued a map of its own in the early 1990s promoting its 'kreditank' card, a payment card to be used with a 'pin'-code in a self service terminal. (Updated 28 April 2004)

Possibly the final Aquila map
Aquila was an Italian company based in Trieste, with chains of service stations in Italy and Austria. It was acquired by Total in 1955, but the name continued in use for a few years, and a 1962 map is possibly the last produced for this brand. (Updated 28 April 2004)

An atlas of the Ukraine from Elf Oils
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Western oil companies have only slowly made inroads into the former Soviet Republics, and when they have done so have often concentrated on selling lubricants through a local distributor. The French company Elf followed this route, and was one of a handful of firms to promote their products through a paper atlas of the country issued in 2002. (Updated 24 April 2004)

Top of PagePetrol and oil company adverts on road maps
There has been a basic page showing a selection of adverts from - mainly the rear covers - of commercial maps for several years. I have now expanded this significantly and split it into three parts:
Adverts on British maps
As well as existing adverts from PGR, Pratts and Esso (for UK visitors to Belgium) I have added additional images from a 1922 RAC town plan of Coventry (Shell and Filtrate adverts); Shell-BP advertising from 1953 Motor-maps; Shell, BP and National advertising from a 1966-7 British Travel Association series "Exploring Britain by Car" and a 1977 ICI Petrol advert from an Estate Publications map of Yorkshire.
Adverts on continental European maps
These still focus on maps from Germany, Italy and Portugal, but I intend to add some additional examples soon.
Optimol adverts on JRO maps
Optimol has been split off from the main advertising page, due to the number of adverts that can be found on JRO-Verlag maps, generally of Southern Germany or the Alpine region.
In all there are some 15 new images. (Updated 23 April 2004)

Fuchs Petrolub is Germany's largest specialist lubricant company, but as with most companies not supplying petrol as well, has only rarely issued maps. A 1950s example is now shown on the site. (Updated 4 April 2004)

TS (Tankdienst Sengeisen)
Tankdienst Sengeisen was a tiny company, listing just three TS branded service stations on the rear cover in towns North of Frankfurt, but nevertheless, in the early 1960s sold customised JRO maps of Germany. (Updated 27 March 2004)

Esso adverts on a 1950 Dover-Ostend map folder
The Dover-Ostend ferry line produced a light card folder for their 1950 season. Entitled "With your Car to BELGIUM and GERMANY by DOVER-OSTEND" it contained a set of five simple strip maps and the inside pockets of the folder were given over to Esso adverts. (Updated 25 March 2004)

A map from Sacor
One of the pleasures of creating this website is that when I write "No maps are known from..." it often serves as a spur for someone to tell me about a particular map that they have. The latest case of this is Sacor, where Richard Horwitz has pointed out that they did produce a map of Portugal. (Updated 16 March 2004)

AVIA Participants from Germany
Although AVIA maps can be found from several countries, except in Germany most AVIA participants were not large enough to have issued their own maps prior to joining the co-operative association. The German situation was rather different, as many of the names that formed AVIA were (and remained) part of the UNITI trade association which arranged for maps bearing the names of most of its members. This new page concentrates on maps from Boie, A. May, Minera and Oest, all of which remain active members of the AVIA organisation in Germany. Much of its content was previously on the UNITI page, although there are three new map images. (Updated 14 March 2004)

A set of Shell map cards from Italy
In the early 1950s Shell issued a set of maps printed on light card in a card folder from Italy. These included a set of road signs typical of the era. (Updated 8 March 2004)

The final Texaco map of Sweden?
Texaco withdrew from direct marketing in Scandinavia in the mid-1990s, selling its Swedish chain to Preem and merging its Danish and Norwegian ones with Hydro's downstream operations. A spiral bound atlas, dated 1994, might well be the final Texaco map from Sweden. (Updated 27 February 2004)

A Second Petrol Ofisi Map
I have now been sent a scan of a slightly later Petrol Ofisi map, and this has been added to the page on Turkey. However, I am still looking for a Turkpetrol map - please let me know if you have one! (Updated 20 February 2004)

Top of PagePetrol Maps from Turkey
Although it is a long way from much of Europe, making it hard for tourists to drive there, there were a surprising number of maps of the country produced by oil companies, especially in the 1960s. This new page shows some 11 maps from the country, from Shell, BP, Mobil and the local market leader, Petrol Ofisi. (Updated 14 February 2004)

The "Guess the Brand & Cartographer" Quiz
This website has three quizzes, one of which requires you to guess the map from which an extract covering Bournemouth has been taken. I have added a tenth map to the quiz, as it has some interesting clues. (Updated 7 February 2004)

An overview of maps from Switzerland
Switzerland has a strong cartographic tradition and most of the main international oil companies had chains of service stations there at one time. Consequently, it is no surprise that there are a wide range of petrol maps available from the country, including some from domestic brands. (Updated 1 February 2004)

An Esso map on a bag
Among the more unusual items produced for esso in the 1960s was a map of Finland printed onto the side of a sports bag. (Updated 30 January 2004)

Total & Elf
After TotalFina acquired Elf in 1999, the Elf name was soon discontinued in most countries. Germany was an exception due to Elf's earlier purchase of the former Minol monopoly in Eastern Germany, and as late as 2002 a joint Total-Elf map was published locating their service stations. (Updated 22 January 2004)

A third map of Gotland
A third petrol company map of Gotland has been discovered - and it is again from Shell. But if you have an example from another brand, then please let me know. (Updated 17 January 2004)

OMV in Hungary
An OMV map of Hungary prepared for OMV's operating subsidiary in the country has been added; until now the only OMV map of Hungary shown was prepared by the Austrian parent company. (Updated 15 January 2004)

Extra clues on how to date maps
Two extra sets of hints have been added to the page on how to date maps. The first is for date codes on maps published by JRO-Verlag in Germany, and the second for maps from the brand AVIA. No new map images are shown here, although one has been swapped for Lotherol, to get it more accurate to scale and colour. (Updated 8 January 2004)

An overview of maps from Spain
Continuing the Iberian theme, a page has now been prepared for maps of Spain. Not just maps from Spain, as from 1927-92 Spain had a single brand of petrol, and consequently most petrol company maps of the country were produced outside the country by centralised touring services. (Updated 2 January 2004)

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Text, "new" icon and layout © Ian Byrne, 2004

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