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Navigation aidWIDENMEYER

and the Saar

ca1958 Widenmeyer map of W Germany

Fritz Widenmeyer was established as a Saarland chemical works in 1890, and became the largest independent brand of petrol found in the Saar. It may have acquired part of a major company after one of the Saarland's change of control; indeed the logo shown here is redolent of the IG Farben logo (used in the 1930s by Leuna). This map is the only known example from Widenmeyer, and used a stock map of West Germany (no. 151RR) from JRO-Verlag, overprinted in two colours in around 1958. The front cover advertises Widenmeyer's Benzin, Superal and Dieselin grades; inside another panel advertises its "Ka-Go", HD and Extra motor oils. Widenmeyer was still an important Saarland petrol distributor as late as 1971, by which time it had removed the old logo and replaced it by a large red W on the left of the sign. The company appears to survive, but only as a fuel oil distributor; more information would be welcome!

Maps from the Saar

1947-56 Saar flag   Current Saarland flag

The Saarland changed ownership several times in the twentieth century, so it is not surprising that at least one large independent grew in the area. Established as a separate state under a League of Nations mandate in 1919, the Saarland elected to join Germany in 1935. After the war it was under French influence until 1957, when it rejoined West Germany. No oil company maps are known from the semi-autonomous periods (1919-35 and 1945-57), although BV-Aral did issue a Sonderkarte of the region (along with a number of others) in the mid 1930s. The three map extracts below are taken from regular BV-Aral maps, and show how this German company's chain apparently disappeared during the 1950s, to re-emerge intact after the Saar rejoined West Germany:

Extract from 1937 BV map showing the Saar
Extract from 1937 BV map showing the Saar

Extract from 1959 Aral map showing the Saar
Extract from ca1959 Aral map showing the Saar (Busche edition IV/4)

Extract from 1962 Aral map showing the Saar
Extract from ca1962 Aral map showing the Saar (Busche edition IV/7)

The three map extracts are all taken from BV-Aral maps, and show how in 1937, soon after the Saar's decision to join Germany, there was already an extensive network of BV stations in the region. However in the late 1950s, no Aral stations were shown at all, even though the map did recognise Aral's presence in Luxembourg (as well as West Germany proper). Three years later Aral was once again a major presence in the Saar, and the locations (marked by a blue dot) are still closely correlated with those of BV 25 years earlier. This suggests that although Aral may not have been active in the Saar during the period under French influence, its stations were not acquired by a competitor.

1959 Esso map of the Saarland

Extract from 1959 Esso map of the Saarland

In 1959 Esso published this map of the Saarland. Although Esso also published a number of city maps at the same time, this title was unusual in not being a street plan, but just regional maps at 1:200,000 (shown) and 1:550,000 of a larger area reaching as far as Frankfurt. There were small inset plans of the centres of Saarbrücken and Frankfurt. It is not known if this map had initially been produced for Esso while the Saar was under French administration.
Click here or on the map extract for enlarged images.

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No maps are known from the Saar's period of French influence between 1945 and 1957.
However a BP map of France dating from around 1960 that located all towns and villages with BP stations in France also marked locations in the Saar, but not elsewhere in Germany or in Belgium or Switzerland, even though BP had chains of filling stations in all these countries.
Enlarge map cover or map extract.

1960 BP Map of France

c1960 BP map of the Saarland

Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2006-17

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