The Pennsylvania Railroad System "Look at this Map!", 1909

The Pennsylvania Railroad System, Rand McNally Shipper's Atlas, 1909
Enlarged Business Atlas and Shipper's Guide
Chicago, 1909
color lithograph
Unrestored original condition
good original condition
27.5 × 20.5 inches
Sale Status: 
On Reserve

        This eye catching map from Rand McNally's Enlarged Business Atlas and Shipper's Guide is both a technical map of the Pennsylvania Railroad System as of 1909 and an artistic composition intended to catch the attention of shipping managers by advertising the coast to coast advantages of using the Pennsylvania Railroad network.  The map illustrates with practical detail the railroad connections throughout the system. It is perhaps hard to remember that as recently as the early part of the twentieth century, all logistics were by rail and that an atlas such as this was required in order for a shipping manager or business to figure out how it could efficiently and economically transfer goods, either coast to coast, regionally or internationally. The Enlarged Business Atlas contains maps showing rail systems from Chicago to the East Coast as well as Chicago to the West Coast. The state maps include a color and number coded list in red of all rail lines in the geographic area shown on the map as well as details about that region on the reverse of the map. Maps of other continents and countries are also included. All of the maps are in beautiful lithographed colors and have exceptional geographic details. The maps were (and continue to be) done in house by Rand McNally's large staff.

            In addition to this advertising map, the Enlarged Business Atlas includes a map of the United States showing the different time zones. It was initially the private railroad industry in the late-19th century in America and Canada that instituted the system of regional time zones in order to permit safe scheduling and routing of trains.  It was only decades later with the Standard Time Act of 1918 that the U.S. Congress enacted federal law creating standard regional time zones.

            Rand McNally & Company began its publishing business in step with the development of railroads in the United States printing tickets and train schedules as well as folding, pocket traveler's maps by state and region. By the end of the 19th century, Rand McNally & Company was an internationally recognized creator and publisher of reliable maps and atlases describing places all over the world. This map of the Pennsylvania Railroad System, intended to catch the eye and perhaps bring a grin to a worker in a busy shipper's office is therefore in that larger tradition of Rand McNally's publishing arts over now three centuries.

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