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The first generally distributed oil company road maps are usually credited to Gulf Oil Company of Pittsburgh. In 1913 they opened the first drive-in gas station on Baum Boulevard in Pittsburgh's east end, and the next year began handing out road maps. The early years, 1915 to 1925, are dominated by Gulf as few other oil companies issued maps ( see also the article The Early Gulf Road Maps of Pennsylvania ). An explosion of oil company maps occurred in the 1930's with many attractive art deco images, some created by prominent illustrators of the day. Oil company maps disappeared in the 1970's, although a few companies like Exxon and Mobil continued distributing maps into the 80's. A large oil company road map image archive with some history can be found at /roadmaps/ . European oil company road maps can be seen at Petrol (Gasoline) and Oil Road Maps from Europe .
The road map images are divided by decade and accessed using the links below. There is an image for almost every year from 1915 to 2000. For some folded maps, in addition to the cover image link, there is a map image link to show the cartography features. Thus, both changes in map illustration and cartography over the years can be seen. The choice of maps was based upon including as many different issuers as possible.
|Oil Company Road Maps||1910's||1920's||1930's||1940's|
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