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European Petrol Road Map Web Site

The webmaster's blog...2014

Coming Next..

This is a summary, in chronological order of maps added to the PetrolMaps website during 2014, the 16th year of operation of the site.

On 7th January 2015, our main web address changed to replacing the old address. All subsidiary pages now also start with the URL, so if you have any favourites bookmarked or links to the old address you'll need to update them.

Now on line:

The other Watsons ROP ZIP map
Watsons was the pre-war distributor of Russian Oil Products (ZIP) in the Northwestern counties of Lancashire, Westmorland and Cumberland. It issued its own version of both the pre-war ZIP maps (but not the Special Scottish map), and the earlier Watsons map of England and South Scotland has now been added. (Updated 29 December 2014)

Esso Lebanon
Six of the oil majors marketed in Lebanon in the 1960s: Shell, Total, Caltex, Mobil, BP and Esso, but until now, only the first four had maps shown on this site. An Esso map has now joined them and, uniquely, it is in English rather than French. So if anyone has a BP map of the country... (Updated 26 December 2014)

Mobil maps from Scandinavia
Mobil built up a relatively strong market position in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, though its maps are not seen all that often. An example has been added from the early 1960s for Norway and Denmark. (Updated 26 December 2014)

Some pages get updates frequently, but others stay untouched for years at a time. A case in point is Murco, which was last updated in late 2007 when I had just purchased what turned out to be their final road atlas, a 2008 edition. However as its former US parent has now sold it to the independent Motor Fuels Group and I have recently found a 1979 map, I thought I should perhaps add a couple of other atlases from the 2000s, including the 2000 edition which uniquely appears to have been produced by the AA rather than its regular cartographer, Collins Bartholomew. (Updated 18 December 2014)

Old and New BP maps from Germany
BP has operated in Germany for over 90 years, but became a major player in the 1930s through its gradual acquisition of Olex. In this period it published a set of regional maps, ultimately with 11 sections covering all of Großdeutschland. These were available in a cardboard folder and this is now shown on the site. Sixty years later, after reunification, BP took 10 sections to cover the country (albeit at the larger scale of 1:400,000 as opposed to 1:750,000 in the 1930s). An example of what is thought to be the final series before BP dropped its own branding in favour of the better known Aral identity has now been added as well. (Updated 29 November 2014)

Pre-war diesel maps from Britain and Germany
Diesel fuel was first used for lorries (trucks) in Germany in 1923, and before long the main petrol companies started adding supplies of the new diesel fuel at their filling stations or special supply depots accessible to commercial vehicles. As they were still few and far between in the 1930s, some firms produced maps showing where diesel fuel could be bought. The site now shows five examples from Britain representing Pratts, Essodiesel and Shell-BP's Light Diesoleum, all using fairly basic locator maps (some of which are also shown), and one, much more sophisticated, example from Shell in Germany. (Updated 23 November 2014)

Hugo Stinnes stickered BV-Aral maps
Hugo Stinnes was a long established shipping and coal merchant that expanded into oil products between the wars. Although a 1938 BV-Aral map carrying a Hugo Stinnes - Stettin sticker has been shown on this site for several years, I had never seen such a map in person. I have now examined an earlier example, probably dating from around 1932, and can confirm that the only change to original map is the addition of the sticker; it is not known if all BV-Aral maps were amended in this way by Stinnes, or just those surrounding its East Prussian base. (Updated 14 November 2014)

Aral's West Coast map
Between around 1957 and 1963 Aral issued a number of pictorial maps of Schleswig-Holstein and Jutland, highlighting either the "Green" coast or the newly designated E3 route that ran up it from Hamburg to Frederikshavn. Most appear to have been printed in one of three languages - German, English and Danish. A slightly earlier map from this sequence has now been found, dated April 1957 and not including most of Jutland, under the name West Küsten-Strasse. (Updated 30 October 2014)

Why am I showing only part of this map?
BP map from Daunpol-Pilot websiteGenerally I only include maps for which I have a complete cover image, and preferably ones for which I know details such as age and cartographer. But occasionally I break this rule, as in the image here (and on the BP page) as it is clearly a more recent map than any other example I know of from BP. The image is taken from the Polish Daunpol-Pilot website, where they are showing examples of their work for third parties. So I do know the cartographer, but don't know the year, or whether it is part of a series of maps, including Poland and possibly other sections, including cities. So I make my usual plea, that if you can provide me with more information or, better still, a copy of this map, I'd be pleased to hear from you. (Updated 27 October 2014)

An Igol lubricants map of Paris
The French lubricant brand Igol was born in 1949 when a dozen independent firms came together under the single brand. Soon afterwards they published a small map showing exits from Paris. (Updated 20 October 2014)

A 1926 Shell Weekend Tours booklet from Austria
The little 1927-30 Shell maps from Italy (see below) had a counterpart of weekend tours published in Vienna by Shell-Floridsdorfer Mineralölfabrik. Despite its title, the 80 page booklet consisted mainly of a list of all places selling Shell fuels in Austria, accompanied by basic maps marking their locations. (Updated 17 October 2014)

Shell Foldex Italy
In the early and mid-1950s, Shell most commonly used Foldex maps in relatively plain covers. One of these has now been added to the Shell Italy page, but designed for sale in the UK (with an English language cover). The page has also been updated to include 5 larger size images, mainly of 1927-30 Shell maps from Italy. (Updated 5 October 2014)

Zenit from Italy
Keeping to 1958 maps of Italy with cartography by IGDA, a spiral atlas from Zenit Italiana SpA, the main forerunner of Amoco in the country, has now been discovered. Zenit started selling fuel in the early 1950s, and had around 700 stations by the time they were sold in 1962. (Updated 5 October 2014)

An older API map
The Italian company Anonima Petroli Italiana (API) was incorporated in 1933, but until now on maps from the 1960s onwards have been known. A 1958 issue has now been discovered, with cartography by IGDA, Novara. (Updated 2 October 2014)

Caltex from North Island, New Zealand
Currently this website is still operating within a self-imposed scope of Europe and the Mediterranean, but I occasionally sneak in the odd map from elsewhere in one of its more obscure corners. So I am showing a 1954 map of North Island, New Zealand produced for Caltex on the page summarising the content of the Letters from Europe published in the quarterly magazine "Check The Oil!". (Updated 1 October 2014)

A 1937 Shell Diesel Atlas of Germany
Shell published a medium format atlas of Germany marking diesel stations, under the title Shell-Handbuch für Fernfahrer in 1937 . This was quite a complex production with 14 fold-out map pages, space to record diesel and oil consumption, and a separate booklet slipped inside the front cover listing the addresses and opening hours of all Shell's stations selling diesel.
I have taken the opportunity to update some of the information on the page devoted to 1930s German Shell maps, especially in connection with the final 1939 series. (Updated 28 September 2014)

The Esso Saarland map
Thinking of potential territorial changes in Europe (see Scotland and Crimea below) reminded me of the Saar, which rejoined West Germany in 1957. The Esso Sonderkarte of the Saarland has been on the site for several years, but only on the 1950s Esso page, rather than the Saar page. I have therefore copied it there, and added a substantial extract from the map itself. (Updated 28 September 2014)

30 Maps from Scotland
We have just heard the result of the referendum on independence for Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom. Had the Scots voted "yes", I would have needed to create a new country page for maps from Scotland. Although they chose to stay within the UK, I still thought it might be interesting to have a page devoted to maps of Scotland. It is notable that with the partial exception of a ZIP map and a Shell map that is reported to have had just 700 copies printed in 1939 that no-one has ever seen, all known petrol company maps of Scotland are part of a wider series of maps of the rest of the UK; no firms have issued a non-series map of the country.
This page contains 30 completely new map cover images from UK maps. British and German maps are comparatively under-represented, quite simply because there were a lot more of them. However this page goes some way to redress the balance. It also uses Colorbox to enable larger scale images to be seen (up to actual size at 72dpi) as the trend towards larger screen has made the current image scaling look quite small. (Updated 21 September 2014)

The last Shell map of Portugal?
Shell sold its chain in Portugal in 2004, but does not appear to have been a regular issuer of maps in the country in the final few years. However it did produce a map, possibly for free distribution, in 1997 that was co-branded with Auto Jardim rent-a-car. (Updated 4 August 2014)

A Shell map that cost as much as 18 litres of petrol in 1954
In the 1930s Shell had entered into a strategic alliance with Foldex to produce road maps in several European countries, including Great Britain. However after the war their maps became increasingly uncompetitive against cheaper offerings from Esso or Regent. One of the last Shell/Foldex maps to be sold in Britain contained six sections, printed on three sheets of paper inside a single red card cover, but sold for almost 12 times the cost of the equivalent Esso maps - or 4 gallons (18 litres) of petrol! (Updated 3 August 2014)

A Mobil map of Athens and more Mobil maps of Greece
Mobil was traditionally strong in Greece and regularly issued sheet maps of the country. However it occasionally also issued fairly basic maps of selected localities inside Greece, and an undated map of Athens from around 1960 is now shown.
At the same time I have added two more Mobil maps of Greece to the Greek overview page, which was in need of something of an overhaul! (Updated 31 July 2014)

1978 Shell cartoguides
Shell published its cartoguides annually between 1958 and the first oil crisis, but less frequently for the next few years. A 1978 series has now been found to fill in the gap between 1975 and 1980; with the exception of the Grandes Routes map of France, the cover designs were essentially the same as the 1975 series, except for the colouring of the title and some differences in the background shades. (Updated 19 May 2014)

Crimea has been in the news with the recent unrest and referendum on independence leading to its absorption into the Russian Federation. Whatever the rights or wrongs of this process it is interesting to see how Crimea has appeared on a few maps published by petrol companies since the break-up of the Soviet Union. (Updated 27 April 2014)

With Texaco Through Ireland
Sometime in the late 1930s or early to mid 1940s, Texaco published a small spiral bound atlas called "With Texaco Through Ireland". This marked Texaco stations in the Irish Free State, and had maps of the whole island. (Updated 5 April 2014)

Motoring with Texaco
In 1989 an 80 page Motoring with Texaco booklet was published in Britain with 20 pages of basic maps. This appears to have not been very well received as no subsequent editions are known. (Updated 31 March 2014)

Statoil Nordic Atlases
Updating the Statoil page to refer to its acquisition by Canada's Couche-Tard in 2012, I realised that it didn't show any of its Nordic ("Norden") atlases, although one was displayed on the Norway country page. So I have added a 1992 atlas and the latest known version, which dates from around 2006. (Updated 6 March 2014)

A box of BP maps from around 1957
It appears that when BP first starting its touring service in the mid-1950s, it made available a selection of road maps in a stout cardboard box. The box itself was printed in Switzerland and one that has been recently found contained 11 maps, all dating from around 1955-8, including an AGIP map of Italy.
This AGIP map, by V. Clementi, has been added to AGIP page. (Updated 27 February 2014)

The Mobil motoring guide to Egypt
I am unaware of any sheet maps from petrol companies in Egypt. However in 1982 Mobil published a slightly idiosyncratic motoring guide to Egypt that included over 30 pages of maps and suggested itineraries for tourists. (Updated 1 February 2014)

1962 Paris and SE France maps from Esso
When I typed the words "Unlike Shell with its cartoguides, Esso did not publish sectional maps of France in the 1960s" a couple of weeks ago, I might have been inviting someone to prove me wrong. Well, Richard Horwitz quickly pointed out that for 1962, at least, Esso sold maps of both Paris and its environs and South East France, and that there may be other titles. He's kindly let me have the images to add to the page on 1960s Esso maps. (Updated 26 January 2014)

Aral's first map of Italy
In the 1960s most major European petrol retailers thought that it was necessary to be in the Italian market, even though it was difficult to make much money there. The German company Aral was no exception, although to some extent it worked alongside its part-owner, Mobil, which had established its own chain. Aral's activity was limited to the Northern half of the country, so it's not surprising that an early map from its Italian subsidiary covered just Northern Italy (and Switzerland!). This map was produced by the Swiss firm Hallwag and also distributed free to members of the Automobile Club of Milan as a way of promoting Aral fuels and oil. (Updated 26 January 2014)

An IP road atlas of Italy
IP replaced Shell in Italy in 1975, and was acquired by API 30 years later, with the IP brand later replacing API. Despite this, very few maps are known from IP, and only the second one is now illustrated on this site: a small format road atlas sponsored by IP but given away with L'Espresso magazine in 1991. (Updated 14 January 2014)

La Dordogne touristique from Esso
Unlike Shell with its cartoguides, Esso did not publish sectional maps of France in the 1960s. However for the 1964 season it published what is thought to be a series of small guides in the format of simple two colour leaflets, including La Dordogne touristique. (Updated 6 January 2014)

1963 De Groenne Kustweg - pictorial mapThe Green Coast Road in Dutch (De Groene Kustweg)
In May 1963 Aral printed a pictorial map showing "the Green Coast Road" running from the Rhine delta to the Skagerrak at the Northern tip of Denmark. Copies of this map are known in German (most commonly) and English; a Dutch version (right) has now been found and it is assumed that a Danish version (called "Den Grønne Kystvej") also exists. As two versions are already shown on the Aral page, I thought I would include the Dutch version here. (Updated 2 January 2014)

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Text, "new" icon and layout © Ian Byrne, 2004, 2014

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