Dinosaur battles to the north. Seek alternate routes.

Only twenty more miles to Cleveland, where OH MY GOD A TRICERATOPS IS FIGHTING A T-REX!

Dinosaurs fighting in a compass rose

The compass rose or north arrow on a map is an easy place for a cartographer to leave his or her artistic mark on a map, in the GIS era usually to laughable effect. Or for a more corporate production, it’s a good place to stick a logo. In the days when American road travel was a bit more of an exciting adventure than it is now, gas stations distributed some heavily-branded highway maps encouraging travel powered by their fuel. As I browsed through a few of these in my possession (acquired from items discarded by the Arthur Robinson Map Library over a couple of years), this lovely north arrow from a c. 1937 Sinclair road map of Ohio stood out as particularly amusing.

I don’t think this was ever Sinclair Oil’s actual logo—rather, it’s long been the still-familiar green apatosaurus—but the company has associated itself with dinosaur imagery in general. The map, by the way, was made by Rand McNally.

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  1. This artwork and the history behind it have made my day!

    lorraine kennedy
    20 November 2009 @ 6:56pm

  2. You probably know this already, but just a heads-up that the per-post links on the Axis blog seem to be collectively borken.

    Hugh Stimson
    11 December 2009 @ 3:52pm

  3. Sinclair sponsored many of the later expeditions of Barnum Brown, discoverer of the T. Rex – and liked to use images of the creatures he unearthed on its handouts.

    29 December 2009 @ 10:24am