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Navigation aidRKS - Reichskraftsprit

Brief History

RKS logoReichskraftsprit was established in 1925 by the Reichsmonopolverwaltung für Branntwein (State Alcoholic-Monopoly) and the Verwertungsverband deutscher Spiritusfabriken. The main aim was to sell a blend containing up to 25% of alcohol produced from potatoes, under the brand Monopolin. To provide a more assured market for its fuels, RKS entered into an agreement in 1927 with the Berlin authorities to develop public filling stations in the city. In 1930 all companies were required to blend 2.5% alcohol into their fuels, rising to 10% by October 1932. In October 1930 51% of the shares in RKS were sold to members of the Treibstoff-Konvention, including DAPG (Esso) in exchange for their agreeing to purchase a minimum annual quantity of alcohol from RKS. However it proved difficult for RKS to produce the required volumes of bioethanol, and it seems that IG-Farben was able to produce ethanol from methanol more competitively. By 1935 RKS supplied 365 filling stations and had a market share of 4.3%. This relatively low number of filling stations of its own explains the relative rarity of its maps; at least one third of the chain was in Berlin itself.


1932 RKS map of Berlin - cover

This map has what must be the least descriptive cover of any, simply showing a zapfstelle (roadside petrol pump) in RKS's signature colours of blue and white; it explains that the blue and white pumps dispense RKS Monopolin Benzin, as well as BV-Aral Benzol: the colours of the pumps are the same as those used by BV-Aral elsewhere in Germany.

Radial routes from 1932 RKS map of Berlin
1930s RKS map of Berlin

A later map of Berlin (probably 1936 or 7 as it shows the Olympic stadium) takes a similar format but the cover shows the zapfstelle rather more graphically, and also reveals that by the mid-1930s they sold not only Monopolin and BV-Aral, but also BP-Olex, Standard and Shell products.

Filling stations from 1930s RKS map of Berlin

Both maps have one side given over to a plan of Berlin which marks the location of the RKS stations. On the reverse both include an unusual schematic map of roads radiating out from Berlin (top right). They also list all 164 RKS filling stations in the Berlin area (the number does not appear to have changed between the two editions). Internally the 1932 map shows a series of drawings showing the procedure when a motorist fills up at an RKS pump. The later map replaces this with photos of selected RKS tankstellen (service stations).

Later 1930s images courtesy of Richard Horwitz

Top of PageUniti maps from the later 1930s also often promote Monopolin, as can be seen on the Donizin image on the Uniti page.

Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2009-10

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