Project #163 – Map Mystery

I bought a map from some friends a few years ago. It’s a polar projection of the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s in German. I have it hanging in my living room and look at it every day. However, there are some weird things on the map that make it hard to pinpoint when it was made.

The friends who owned it previously got it from a classroom building that was set for demolition at their university about five or six years ago. To make the map conform to their bachelor pad they cut holes for an outlet and a heating vent, eliminating most of the map key and any publish date information.

Still, there is some weirdness to the map, for example, the borders of Poland and Germany. Was that the border when the map was printed, or is it just indicating new borders …or is it just wishful thinking on behalf of the German publishers?

This is the latest date I can find on the map. It shows the 1958 journey of the USS Nautilus under the ice at the North Pole.

I’ve put up a Flickr set here. It has a few additional pictures. I would be happy to add more if anyone were interested finding other clues, so leave a comment if you have any suggestions. I’m thinking that looking at city populations might give some clues, but I’m missing most of the key and I don’t know where to start.

4 Comments to “Project #163 – Map Mystery”

  1. Aaron says:

    If I were to make an educated guess:

    It's a map of pre WWII borders with the post-war borders dotted in. Gdansk is still called Danzig, same with Koenigberg (now Kaliningrad). Postwar German borders between East and West are dotted in, and Kaliningrad Oblast is also separated between postwar Poland and the US. I believe Korea was also allotted during this time. The only two things that don't jibe with this:

    The Middle Eastern borders seem a little off, but not quite certain of how that panned out. I also think the Nautilus thing is a red herring, in that it mattered in terms of the Cold War (and so was included because of the postwar implications) but makes the map look more recent.


  2. Aaron says:

    USSR, not US. Koenigsberg, not Koenigberg. Ugh, hit post and not preview. Oh well.

  3. Knile says:

    Inclusion of the ZIP code for the manufacturer/distributor makes it post-1967ish, when ZIP became widely adopted. Is it cheating to call up NYSTROM (still in business)? Their customer service # is: 800-621-8086

  4. Alison says:

    Good point! Unfortunately, the zip is printed on a sticker that was likely added much later. Nystrom is still around and they do have a toll free number, so that might be a good lead.


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