Sunday, August 7, 2016

Signs, Maps, and Rand McNally plus a GIVEAWAY




It's easy in a day and age when most everything is geared toward convenience that we don't really think about the beginnings of those conveniences. I thought I'd talk about one of those things we take for granted. Road signs and maps.

One would think that road signs were a fairly modern thing. At the oldest perhaps the 19th century. After all we've all seen those old wood poles with about 10 arrows nailed on them and a city written on each arrow. 
Rome Marker
By JĂșlio Reis - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=934562

But road markers are much older than that. Let's go back to ancient Rome. The ancients Romans who are so famous for their aqueducts and bath houses among a few of their architectural feats were the some of the first in the western world to make road markers which they called milestones. They used tall columns to communicate information to people as they traveled down the road. The milestones would indicate how far they were from Rome and it also gave them information on directions to the city.  

William Rand and Andrew McNally

Now lets jump forward to  the 19th century and William Rand who started working for the Chicago Tribune in 1859. Shortly after he took in an Irishman named Andrew McNally to help me for a weekly pay of $9 which was a pretty good amount of money for the time. By 1868 the two men had done so well they bought out the Tribune's contracts and went out on their own to start their own business. 


Trains were covering the country bringing people and supplies from coast to coast and Rand and McNally saw a good opportunity. They turned their attention to the needs of the ever growing railway. They printed tickets as well as the timetables needed for the railway. Within two years they were doing railroad guides, business directories, and a newspaper.

The 1871 great fire of Chicago nearly put the two men out of business, but the quick thinking of Rand saved their business. He managed to save two of the ticket printing machines. The two men took the machines to McNally's home where they buried them in the sand on Lake Michigan in hopes to protect them from not only the fire but also the heat and debris. Three days later the men were back in business at a rented office. 

After the Chicago Fire
In 1872 Rand McNally publishes its first map in the December issue of the Railway Guide. In 1904 they publish the first automobile road map of the New York City area.


Rand sold his interest in 1899 and in 1905 McNally died. The business passed to his son. But the world was quickly changing and automobiles were becoming more and more popular making a need for a better signage. A group of car owners met at the Waldorf Astor Hotel in New York City and formed a car club. Other car clubs around the country formed. Suddenly there was a need for signs on major roadways.


All these car clubs put up their own signs, so in some places there were a dozen signs telling people the same thing. The popularity of the car clubs also brought the need for road maps but imagine trying to make a road map when 1 road may have twelve names. Yikes! Talk about confusing. 

The Department of Transportation wanted more standardized signs to make traveling less confusing. Rand McNally, on a map of Peoria Illinois debuts a new highway sign system. That system became the model for the system that was used all over the United States. Rand McNally once again saw a need that moved beyond the map industry. In 1924 the company publishes the Rand McNally Auto Chum which is the first edition of what will become the Rand McNally Road Atlas.

Can we say that stop signs and lights were needed?
A few more interesting tidbits.

The first electric traffic signal was in 1914 in Cleveland.
The first stop sign was put up in 1915 in Detroit.
In 1918 the first state to put up the official route signs was Wisconsin.
In 1920 Detroit put up the first three-colored traffic signal.
 
GIVEAWAY:
I'm giving away a copy of choice of one of Shattered Memories or my medieval, Sword of Forgiveness. Tell me a fun story about you and maps, signs, or roads or something about the post for a chance to win. Don't forget to leave your email address. Share on FB or Twitter for an extra entry.


After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father's estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn't enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.

Royce Warwick returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin's wise and kind nature begins to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim. Purchase here.

NOW AVAILABLE IN AUDIO HERE!


Debbie Lynne has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children’s director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, She and her husband enjoy camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses. Visit Debbie Lynne at www.debbielynnecostello.com
www.theswordandspirit.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/debbielynnecostello https://plus.google.com/+DebbieLynneCostello/posts
https://twitter.com/DebiLynCostello








37 comments:

  1. Okay, don't laugh, but I always thought that Rand McNally was one person. Thanks for setting me straight. LOL

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    1. Not laughing! Just giggling. ;o) At least you thought about it! I never even gave it a thought. Thanks for coming by Chappy!

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  2. My wedding proposal was actually in a car while driving around a swamp! :)
    swanphillips4(at)gmail(dot)com
    Shared too! Thanks for the chance to win!

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    1. My wedding proposal was in a car too! But not going around a swamp. You have me beat there. Thank you for sharing and thanks for coming by. Good luck!

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  4. It's not funny but even as a child I enjoyed following our location on a map (probably Rand McNally) when traveling. I still like to! GPS is fine but I like to see the big picture on a map! jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Joan, I like to see where I am on the map, too. Probably because my sense of direction is terrible. I can keep my barrings better. Thanks for coming by and good luck!

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  5. Interesting! You have to wonder with GPS now, if people even know how to read a map anymore!
    teresa_s13(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I'd be willing to bet the majority don't know how to read them without that little blinking light telling them where the car is! Good luck!

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  6. What fun history to read! We wanted to find a coffee shop nearby where we were traveling, so we used the phone GPS app to find it. It directed us to a "Dog House Shop"! I listening to Sword of Forgiveness on Audio and loving it!!

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    1. That is so funny! Probably not the best place to get a cup of coffee! Siri and I are always at odds with each other. She thinks I have a speech impediment. That is awesome that you are reading Sword of Forgiveness and loving it. You made my day! I'd REALLY appreciate it if you would do a review on audio. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing and good luck in the give away!

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  7. Maps always make me think of my dad and vacations... he would always pull out the map and plot out the best way to reach our destination :) lmedeirosrn(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Awe what a sweet memory. I love memories like that. Thanks so much for sharing and good luck in the giveaway.

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  8. I sure am glad that they did come up with a much better way of making road signs! I can get turned around easily especially when in an unfamiliar area. I used to carry a map in my glove box. We had to learn to read a map in Jr. High school and also how to fold it properly.Thanks for this giveaway. d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

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    1. That's really neat that you had to learn to read a map in JR. High! I was married and did it out of necessity. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  9. Interesting history about Signs, Maps, and Rand McNally. I remember our parents using maps when traveling. I still prefer printed maps instead of GPS as maps appear to be more reliable as GPS has put some friends in the middle of a corn field. I'm easily confused with all the routes in large cities so map quest with directions and a printed map is very beneficial. Thank you for the history lesson.
    marilynridgwday78[at] gmail[dot]com

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    1. There is a lot to be desired with a GPS for sure! We gave a delivery guy our farm address and his GPS took him an hour away from us several towns over. Maps help me because I have such a poor since of direction. Writing this post reminded me how much I miss my atlas. Thanks for coming by, Marilyn. Good luck in the giveaway.

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    1. at 12:17 AM
      When I was a kid I used to think the arrows pointing straight up meant we had to go up in the sky. I remember asking how we going to go straight up. Lol! I know it wasn't very bright of me
      grandmama_brenda(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    2. That is sweet Brenda! I bet most of us had unreasonable thoughts about things as a child. I can totally understand how you thought that. As a child when I heard that God has no beginning i thought it meant He had no feet. But then I thought well if He had no feet then His legs were where He began. The worst thing is I don't remember ever asking to have that clarified. LOL A child's mind is hard to understand. Thanks for taking me down memory lane!! Good luck in the giveaway.

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  11. I also shared on FB & Twitter

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  12. This isn't about me reading a map, but I do remember a time I took my parents to the airport, I was in my late teens/early 20's. I dropped them off and followed the signs out of the airport, but didn't recognize where I was. I just followed the road and hoped I'd find a sign that pointed me the right direction, though I was prepared to stop at any gas station I ran across. Thankfully a sign did point me in the right direction a few miles down the road. In hindsight, I believe it was a new connector freeway they were working on that diverted traffic from the main city streets. annby(at)centurylink(dot)net

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    1. As a teen that had to be a bit scary. Airports are intimidating with all their confusing signs. I still have a hard time making my way through them. LOL. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck in the giveaway.

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  13. I'm with Chappy Debbie Mitchell in not having been aware that Rand McNally was two different people. After reading your post it seems so obvious though. I love maps and following them. Even though we have GPS on our phones whenever we are going someplace new and plan it ahead of time I like to get on Google Maps and look up the area and trace out the route ahead of time and become familiar with the street names.

    I also shared on Twitter. debbiewilder(at)comcast(dot)net

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    1. Hey Debbie! I love to look at google maps too! I really think I'm going to go buy an atlas though. We had one in our car forever and then we got the gps and I stopped using it. But I do miss knowing where I'm going. I am very visual so the maps help. Thank you for sharing and for coming by!

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  14. I remember pouring over the map as we traveled - I still like to look up where we are going and see what is around it. Electronics have made it easier to check out the surrounding area, but I miss the paper map and being proud that I folded it back up correctly...lol. Thanks for the glimpse into a little more history. I will say, we never get lost in our family, we only explore :).

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    1. LOL, Betti! I think that is a good way to look at it! Exploring verses getting lost! I know Siri and I do butt heads. I miss my map. ;o) Thank you for coming by! Please leave our email in case you win so I can contact you!

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  15. My daughter is map challenged. So whenever we went on a road trip I made her give the directions from a map. Also, in the big cities of New York and Paris I let her give the directions to try to improve her skills. Luckily I was always one step ahead of her to redirect our course. Maybe GPS is better for her now. I still enjoy a physical map along with the GPS.

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    1. Hello Marguerite. Is it okay if I am sooooo jealous! Paris? Oh my goodness! How fun that must have been. The good thing about your daughter directing you in Paris is that if you got lost how fun! You just see more of Paris. :o) Thanks for coming by and sharing. Please leave your email addy in case you win!

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  16. I don't really have any map, route stories! I usually am in the passenger seat reading a book. Thanks for sharing re Rand McNally.
    Anne at Rightler dot com
    I love audio books!

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    1. Hey Anne! That's okay that you don't have any stories. I used to love to read while we traveled. I love audio books too! I love to listen while I drive. Passes the time so quickly. Thanks for coming by. Good luck.

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  17. Thank you for the cool history lesson! My brother's always had this obsession with maps, so it it's no wonder he was better at geography than me. Whenever my mom gives directions, she usually mentions a few landmarks of a kind and even draws a little map for them. The trouble is, these days most tend to solely rely on their GPS and that's where everything starts to go haywire. For some reason, it leads them through all sorts of out-of-the way back roads. Granted, we don't live as far out now, but that doesn't seem to deter the GPS from leading many off the beaten path. One time it almost took my brother-in-law off of a cliff in wintry weather. Simply put, sometimes the old way may still be better. emeraldelena(a)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Well said, Julianna. I sometimes want to pitch Siri out the window she gives me such a fit. I use landmarks myself when giving directions to where we live which is out in the country. Landmarks help me so I think that is why I use them. Thanks for coming by! Good luck.

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  18. Im a learning disabled person trying to drive outside Portland Oregon just added up to getting lost......the secret was to only go one way to get to a place
    God bless u
    Chris Granville
    granville@frontiernet.net

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    1. Chris, I can get so twisted around when going someplace. True story here: When we go someplace we don't know, hubby will say which way do you think? I will tell him right so he goes left! Sigh. I am hopeless for sense of direction. But maps now, that is another story. Thanks for coming by and sharing. Good luck!

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  19. Chris G you are my winner! Congratulations!

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