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AUCTION 19

1844 Map of Texas by the Inventors of Cerography

97. [MAP]. MORSE, Sidney E. & Samuel Breese. Texas [below neat line] Entered According to Act of Congress in the Year 1844 by Sidney E. Morse and Samuel Breese in the Clerks Office of the Southern District of New York. Cerograph map with original pale green overprinting; neat line to neat line:  37.8 x 30.6 cm.  Except for mild age toning, very fine.

     While not an important map historically (actually it is retrogressive), it is highly interesting as an early example of a new technique for making maps.  Sidney E. Morse and Samuel Breese invented cerography, which they began using in 1839. Morse tried to keep the process secret, but it became widely used in mapmaking, especially after Rand, McNally used wax engraving in 1872. Wax engraving remained an important map printing technique until the mid-twentieth century. Unlike engraving or lithography, which demanded the laborious drawing of a negative image, cerography allowed the image to be drawn directly—the positive image is drawn onto a wax-covered plate that is then used as a mold from which a master printing plate is cast by an electroplating process. Images could be easily cut into the soft wax layer using very little pressure. Various sized gravers could be used, commercial tools could stamp letters directly into the wax, even wheels with designs were used to draw boundary lines. See Woodward, David, The All-American Map: Wax Engraving and Its Influence on Cartography (Chicago, 1977) and Judith A. Tyner, “Images of the Southwest in Nineteenth-Century American Atlases” (p. 70) in Reinhartz & Colley (eds.), The Mapping of the American Southwest.  ($250-500)

Auction 19 Short Title List | Auction 19 Prices Realized

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