Unusual "Automatic Road Map" of the Eastern United States
"Auto-Map-Ic - United States East of the Mississippi River",
Subject: Eastern United States
Period: 1965 (circa)
Color: Printed Color
7.3 x 12.5 inches
18.5 x 31.8 cm
This rare and novel cartographic contraption was advertised as "the fully automatic road map," a "safer and quicker" alternative to unhandy folding road maps. It is a two-sided plastic map viewer containing 15 maps and a key. Each map is divided into 9 sliding panels that can be shifted using seven pairs of tabs on the sides of the device. The 15 maps in this device show the eastern United States from Map #1, which spans from southern Canada south to Rochester, New York, into, to Map #15, which covers from Augusta, Georgia, south to Key West. Each map is richly detailed, delineating roads, rivers and streams, points of interest, national parks, airports, mountains, and much more. There is no indication of who manufactured the item, but it was printed in Austria. U.S. Patent No. 2,141,398 appears on the key; the patent, credited to Berlin inventor Carl Albert Loewenstein, is for a "changeable exhibitor" and is originally dated 1937. Similar "auto-map-ics" were produced for the western United States, England, Spain, Germany, New Zealand, and other regions, but it appears the device was little more than a fad. The viewer comes with a cardboard case with the title printed on it in red letters.
See a video of the Auto-Map-Ic in action on our YouTube Channel
The Auto-Map-Ic device is still fully operational, with only the bottom panel for Map #11 detached, although it is still included separately. Another sliding panel is loose within the device. The case has damp stains and soiling.