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The webmaster's blog...2012

During 2012 I first sub-titled this page "The webmaster's blog", because in some ways that's what it is - and had been since 1999, when the word blog hadn't been invented! Of course it's not a true blog as it doesn't contain the map images or opportunities for readers to add comments, but it certainly allowed for a slightly broader commentary on some of the additions than a simple description.
This page shows the updates that were made to the PetrolMaps website during 2012; I added another 81 map images and, like 2010 and 2011, just 3 additional brands (Goskomnefteprodukt, PetroDeriva and Exxon) over the year. Over the passage of time some of the links may no longer work if I have moved images to a new location (for example through splitting large pages), although most of the content of this website is permanent and can still be found by using its search facility. As in 2011, I spent more time working on the US site of Road Map Collectors Association, creating then updating its detailed tables showing all known maps by brand state/city/region and cartographer. This is an ongoing project and will last throughout 2013, possibly slowing down activity on the PetrolMaps site.

Updates in 2012:

Several updates to the Portuguese overview page
A couple of recent discoveries have led me to make a number of changes to the summary page for Portugal, including tracking down (approximate) numbers for current service station numbers by brand. Among the maps, I have added a couple of images from some very early (1915-6) Vacuum/Mobiloil maps of the country, a ca1926 world map from Shell promoting a plan round the world seaplane expedition and the only known Sonap map of the country (requiring me to remove a placeholder for the brand from Mozambique). (Updated 26 December 2012)

A French language map from Italian company Aquila
Aquila was the fourth or fifth largest brand of petrol in Italy when it was acquired by France's Total. Given that Italy was also a popular destination for French tourists it may explain why Aquila is thought to have produced a French language map of Italy in 1960-1. (Updated 26 December 2012)

Europe in 1939
It's sometimes forgotten that in the late 1930s, motor tourism was beginning to take off in Europe, and the larger oil companies began providing travel aids for drivers. In 1939, Shell produced a 32 page booklet called "bon voyage" that included a small number of common phrases translated into no less than 18 languages, including Estonian, Latvian and Serbo-Croat (but not Greek or Russian), to cater for the growth of tourism, largely in Northern Europe. A basic gastronomic map of Europe was pasted into the rear cover, showing the short-lived borders of that era (with Austria subsumed into Germany). This map is now available online in a fully zoomable format, so the regional specialities can be seen in detail. (Updated 10 December 2012)

Another late 1920s Duckhams Adcol map
Although petrol companies rarely issued maps before World War II in the UK, the lubricant manufacturer Alexander Duckham & Co. quite regularly produced maps in a variety of formats including some very early boxed sets of card maps, booklets and sheet maps in light card covers. A slightly later sheet map has been found from the 1920s, advertising Duckham's Adcol N.P. Motor Oil. (Updated 5 November 2012)

A map from Petro-Deriva
Some of the very smallest companies ever to have had their own road maps printed come from Belgium. One such firm is the tiny Petro-Deriva which issued a map around 1960, and still supplies at least one filling station near its home base of Roeselare. (Updated 5 November 2012)

An API map featuring a world champion motorcyclist
For a very different type of sportsman from Olympians, the 1960s world champion motorcyclist Giacomo Agostini was featured on a mid to late 1960s road map of Italy issued by API. (Updated 23 October 2012)

Elf's 1972 Olympic Plan
Continuing the recent Olympic theme, the French company Elf issued a vinyl map wallet containing two maps for the 1972 Munich event. This is quite surprising as Elf had only a relatively small chain of filling stations in Germany at the time, with less than 1% of the market, and has never been a prolific map issuer. (Updated 21 October 2012)

Service Station locations on a modern map of Latvia
Although recent maps issued by or exclusively for petrol companies are increasingly uncommon, some firms do continue to advertise on commercial issues. A fairly recent issue (2006) from the Latvian cartographer Jana Seta marks filling stations from three brands that were unconnected at the time of printing: Lukoil, Virši-A and Uno-X, as well as carrying a small advert from Virši-A. (Updated 21 October 2012)

An Exxon map of Europe from Germany
Esso's German map series from 1988 included a map of Europe branded Exxon, rather than Esso. It is unclear why this was produced and was unlikely to be for distribution in the USA as the cover text was solely in German. (Updated 2 October 2012)

Various Olympic Games maps
Now that the London events have finished, I thought it might be fun to add some more Olympic themed maps to the special page. First up is a recently discovered Goskomnefteprodukt map showing service stations in Moscow at the time of the 1980 Games, and featuring Misha the Olympic bear on the cover. Then there's another map from the 1960 Rome Games, this time from Mobil that cleverly incorporated the Olympic rings into the design, but fails to mentions the actual Games (or any of the venues) on the map. The final map is not even from an oil company, as it comes from the recent (2012) events in London, and A-Z had the exclusive right to sell Olympic maps. Still, it was on sale in many service stations, including those of BP an official sponsor. And to show that BP has produced Olympic items prior to London, I have added a souvenir from the 1972 Games in Munich which allowed users to write in the names of winners on a sliding card. (Updated 28 September 2012)

Update on current Aral maps
A recent visit to Germany enabled me to check out the maps on sale in Aral filling stations, and to compare these to the range advertised on the Busche website. From the Busche site there are still 26 Aral map products available including 20 sheet maps, five road atlases (including the Schlummer & Schlemmer ones for hotels and restaurants) and a box set containing 14 sheet maps (two of which are not sold separately) and a town register (index). Aral filling stations typically sell a subset of this - usually including the three road atlases, the boxed set of map, and some of the eight sectional maps of Germany. I have added a few items to the site: the 2013-14 Spiral Bound Atlas on the introduction page as it is the first known oil company item to carry a 2014 date (!); the boxed set and a representative sectional map on the main Aral page; and a map of Denmark on the international page. I have also updated the history and background information in a number of places, and added an English language version of the 1963 Danish Green Coast map.
For the record, Shell stations seem to be carrying a smaller range of branded maps, no longer with any sectional or international titles, although they do have two maps for Northern and Southern Germany. Like Aral they sell a relatively inexpensive softback atlas, but their flagship product is the hardback atlas of Germany and Europe. (Updated 22 September 2012)

The contents of a 1965 BP Touring Service planning pack of Spain
In 1964-5 BP marketed Touring Service planning packs of sixteen countries at 2/6d (12½p) each. I recently found an unopened pack for Spain still sealed in its vinyl wallet: it turned out to be from 1965 and, unexpectedly, included BP's map of Spain & Portugal as well as the touring guide booklet and a small number of other items. (Updated 14 September 2012)

A 1985 map of Yugoslavia from INA...
Prior to its dissolution most of the main Yugoslav petrol distribution companies published road maps from time to time, although they are only rarely seen. This may be due to the Yugoslav Tourist Board freely distributing low quality but serviceable maps of the country to prospective visitors, reducing the need to buy maps at filling stations. The main petrol company in Croatia was INA, and a map - probably dating from 1985 - is shown which used cartography from a Slovenian firm.
...and a 1977 one from Jugopetrol
Jugopetrol was the original petrol company in Yugoslavia, but gradually cut back to a chain largely operating in Serbia as new distribution companies were formed in other republics. Its maps are even less often seen than those from INA, as Serbia lacked a tourist destination like the Adriatic Coast in Croatia. (Updated 12 September 2012)

Pre-1939 Standard and Esso maps from Germany
During the 1930s, Standard/Esso published sectional maps of Germany that were regularly revised to show the latest autobahns. For most of the decade they used an unusual "Luftbildkarte" format - designed to give an impression of an aerial view of the landscape, with roads superimposed. Following some sequencing work done earlier this year with Stan DeOrsey, I am now adding a new page focusing on these maps that includes a provisional dating scheme, based partly on road construction, but also on the naming of streets following the rise to power of the Nazi party. As well as many more images of details from the maps, for the first time I have been able to scan a map from the series that can be zoomed and panned to enable closer inspection.
As part of the review of pre-war Standard maps, I have also added a Stanavo map of France, showing aerodromes and seaplane landing sites, that dates from around 1935. (Updated 12 August 2012)

An undated Mobil map of Italy
Towards the end of its period of operations in Italy, Mobil produced a map of the country showing its Mobil Super Synth motor oil, rather strange (English language slogan "TAXI & TURBO TESTED". The advert on this map matches an advert in a 1984 magazine, giving a reasonably firm date for the issue. (Updated 9 August 2012)

Esso's 1967 map of Rome
Although Esso produced a map of Rome for the 1960 Olympics, they did not make it a regular feature of their Italian maps until July 1967 when a new version was produced, again described as the 1st edition. (Updated 5 August 2012)

A 1963 Shell map of Turkey
Shell's 1963 map of Turkey followed the broad international style externally, although it used local cartography inside. (Updated 30 July 2012)
Sample A-Z London 2012 map

Something's happening down in London...
BP Flyer promoting advanced fuels for London 2012There's an event taking place down in London, but I am not allowed to name it as this site is not officially linked to it. However I can tell you that BP are the official oil company partner (and presciently issued a flyer showing Lizzie Armitstead, Britain's first medal winner at the event), and that Geographers' A-Z Map Co. are providing a wide range of maps in different formats (right). And as far as I know, there are no BP maps of the event. That's a shame, as all equivalent European events except for Stockholm in 1956 since Berlin in 1936 managed to produce an oil company map. These are shown in the linked page, if you are wondering what the event is!
(Updated 30 July 2012)

Getty page from RMCA map catalogThe gap here was, as forewarned, partly due to the project to catalogue all known US oil company maps under the aegis of the Road Map Collectors Association, which now has a new and improved website. A sample of the catalog (covering some of the predecessor brands to Getty) is shown below. Note one of the brands shown is from Associated's Veedol lubricant brand, which also issued maps in Europe. Associated/Flying A were never active in Europe's fuel market, although they did run a chain in the Philippines, and there was once a single Getty station attached to a refinery in Southern Italy.

Silver Knight Motor Oils advertising on a Practical Motorist map
In the 1960s motor magazines occasionally gave away maps of Britain as a bonus to encourage sales. To help defray the cost they often had a small number of sponsors allowed to advertise on the map. In the early 1960s one such sponsor on a map from Practical Motorist was Silver Knight Motor Oils, a brand which sold direct to motorists at Halfords car accessory shops, as well through conventional garages. (Updated 22 June 2012)

A Mobil advert on a German Falk-plan city map
Mobil did not sell petrol in Germany, as it had a stake in Aral, Germany's largest petrol retailer. However it did have a German subsidiary that was involved in operations in natural gas and crude oil. This was based in the city of Celle and, perhaps surprisingly, advertised on the rear cover of a late 1990s Falk-plan of the city. (Updated 16 June 2012)

A US Esso map of Western Europe
Esso's touring service also produced some maps only for distribution in the USA; these are distinguished both by cover design and by reference to "Humble Oil & Refining Company" (Esso's main US marketing subsidiary) on the map. A 1960 edition has been added to the introductory page to the sequence of European Esso maps. (Updated 16 June 2012)

An Esso Menu Translator
Esso's touring service produced a number of slim phrase leaflets but are also known to have commissioned a Menu Translator, possibly only for distribution in the USA. (Updated 18 May 2012)

A Mobil map of Switzerland
Mobil sold petrol in Switzerland for many years, but until now this website has not shown any examples of Mobil maps of the country: a 1960 map has now been added. (Updated 18 May 2012)

Where to Refuel - a Shell-BP map of Aviation dealers
In 1966 Shell and BP Aviation Services produced a map showing where to refuel. Although not a road map (only rivers, airports and county boundaries are shown), it was prepared for Shellmex & BP Ltd by their usual cartographer, George Philip & Son Ltd. (Updated 14 May 2012)

An Esso locator for its Touring Service Station in Susa, Italy
Competition to provide touring services to motorists was strong in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Among the ephemera produced for the Esso Touring Service was a small locator showing how to reach the first Esso Touring Service Station in Susa, Italy after crossing the border from France. Tourists would be able to pick up the latest Esso maps of Italy at the service station, as well as purchasing Esso fuels and accessories. (Updated 8 May 2012)

And two more from Israel
Having updated the 1977 Paz, I realised that I had also been sent an image of a Delek from the same year. I have also added an extract from a much earlier Map of Communications sponsored by Shell, but entirely in Hebrew. (Updated 7 May 2012)

Irish Updates
I have recently returned from Ireland, so have used this as an excuse to update some of the Irish maps. Firstly a Burmah map of the country dating from its initial entry to the market has been found, probably dating from the late 1960s. This is also shown on the summary country page for Ireland, along with a much more recent map - a 2009 issue from Texaco. Two more 2000s maps have been added to the page for Irish independent brands - a 2008 map from Maxol, and a slightly older one from Campus.
There are still several possible map issuers from Ireland for which I have never seen a map. Back in the 1960s the Lobitos and Shamrock chains (both bought by Burmah) might have issued maps - Lobitos is known to have published one of Peru, its other main market. More recently, Jet did issue a Handy Map in 1986, but I have yet to see a copy. And coming right up to date, two of the top 5 brands - Topaz and Top - are not known to have issued maps. As always, if you can help me with any of these, then please send me an e-mail.
And more for amusement, an Anglo map of Ecuador has also been included on the Burmah page, although it's not quite of Europe... (Updated 6 May 2012)

A 1991 Road Atlas of Turkey from Petrol Ofisi
Petrol Ofisi is Turkey's largest brand of petrol, but has not been a prolific issuer of road maps. The most recent known is this newly discovered 1991 atlas of the country, running to 62 pages. (Updated 6 May 2012)

A later Gulf map from Switzerland
Guld was for many years a second tier marketer in Switzerland, although it did issue maps from time to time. In 1972, it added bespoke covers to a stock Hallwag map of the country. (Updated 6 May 2012)

A Paz map with a very plain cover
In 1977 the Israeli company Paz issued a map of its home country thathad a plain yellow cover, with no writing at all apart from a small Paz logo in the bottom corner. (Updated 6 May 2012)

A Cepsa map from Portugal
In 2012 Cepsa's Portuguese subsidiary acted as the sole sponsor on a map to be given away by the leading weekly newspaper in Portugal, Expresso. This is first known Cepsa map from outside its home market of Spain, and possibly reflects a greater desire to promote the Cepsa brand now that it is now longer part owned by the Total group but wholly independent. (Updated 2 April 2012)

A Bartholomew Roadfinder atlas for Heron Service Stations
One of the earliest pages on this site showed a 1978 Heron map. It's taken 12 years to find another one, but it has now been joined by a road atlas produced for the company a year later. (Updated 31 January 2012)

An earlier Shell atlas of the Czech Republic
After the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic was seen as potentially one of the most attractive for new entrants into the downstream fuel market. Shell was an early mover, and an atlas of the Czech & Slovak Republics dating from as early as 1995 (soon after the division of the old Czechoslovakia) has been added. I have also added a sample BZ map to this page. (Updated 25 January 2012)

Tango station, 2009Of course, unlike Shell, which has been the most prolific issuer of petrol maps in Europe, some firms never issued maps. With the announcement today (24 January) of the bankruptcy of Petroplus, the Swiss-based refiner, another "non-issuer" has gone. Of course Petroplus was a relatively recently creation and focused largely on buying old refineries from majors such as BP wanting to divest themselves of barely profitable assets. But Petroplus did operate service stations for a while, notably the Tango chain of unmanned sites in the Netherlands (with a few locations in Belgium). These were sold to Q8 some years ago but the name continues to be used in the Netherlands. And if you have seen a map, then please let me know!
In the UK most interest has been around the fate of the Coryton refinery which was sold by BP to Petroplus a few years ago. Originally opened in 1952, it was built by Mobil to avoid having to pay for lubricant feedstocks in US dollars, and gave the company a base from which to expand into UK petrol retailing. Unlike Petroplus, a variety of Mobil UK maps can be found.

A Caltex spiral atlas of Ireland
The oldest known Caltex maps in a number of countries take the form of a small metal spiral bound atlas folded into two, usually with a graphic cover strongly featuring the Caltex banjo sign. Ireland was no exception, and its atlas was undated, but probably from the early 1950s. (Updated 2 January 2012)

Countries from index map to Shell atlasThe Changing borders of Europe
Twenty years ago European borders were being redrawn, as Latvia and Estonia achieved independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991 and Czechoslovakia was preparing for a peaceful dissolution, while Yugoslavia was part way through its altogether bloodier break up. This period was captured on a large format Shell atlas of Europe that shows borders that only existed for just over a year. The map extract shown here is from the index map. (Updated 1 January 2012)

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