Original antique maps of the world and selected regions from the 1500's to late 1800's


CARTES Á FIGURES: Maps with figures in small panels around the outer side.

CARTOUCHE: Information surrounded by a border. Cartouches typically enclose the title, the scale, or the imprint and may be highly decorative with scrollwork, gargoyles, costumed figures, scenic elements etc.

COMPASS ROSE: Star-like device from which rhumb lines often radiate. North is usually indicated by a small pointer on the compass rose.

COPPER-PLATE ENGRAVING: Intaglio engraving on copper. Before the end of the 15th century, copper engraved plates came into use and had, by the end of the 16th century, essentially changed bookmaking all over Europe - replacing the woodcut. The drawing is transferred to a copper plate in reverse. The lines are cut away with a burin (the deeper the cut, the more ink it used and the darker the eventual printed line).The plate is then inked and the image taken from it.

IMPRINT: Printed data pertaining to the publisher, date published and location.

MARGIN: The portion of the paper outside the neatline

NEAT LINES: The straight, printed lines bounding the map.

PLATE MARK: Impressions made from metal plates often show an indentation of the paper extending to just outside the printed area, made when the paper was crushed by the plate during printing.

POCKET MAP: Folding map, usually with covers and designed primarily for travelers.

RHUMB LINES: Lines criss-crossing old charts at various angles, usually along the compass directions to help plot courses.

STONE-LITHOGRAPHY: Invented by Alois Senefelder in 1796. A smooth stone (such as limestone) receives the design in pen & greasy ink/crayon. The stone is then wetted, with the greasy inked areas rejecting the moisture. Ink is then passed over the stone, and the area where the greasy ink/crayon was used accepts it. Paper is pressed directly onto the stone. Very few maps were produced by the stone-lithograph process.

WATERMARK:  A design in the paper visible by transmitted light. For handmade paper, the watermark is made with bent wires placed on the rack on which the fibers are deposited to make the paper.

WAX-ENGRAVING: A method developed by Sidney E. Morse (brother of Samuel F. B. Morse - inventor of the telegraph). Wax engraving was a major technological breakthrough that greatly influenced American commercial map and atlas production in the U.S. First used in the 1830's, it became predominant by the 1880's.

WOODCUT: The earliest method of printing, developed around 1400. The image is drawn on a wood block. The space between the lines is cut away, so that the lines receive the ink. The image is drawn in reverse, so that when the inked block is pressed to a sheet of paper, the print appears in the intended direction.