Bartholomew's map finishing processes

At the height of Bartholomew's popularity, it was possible to customise the way in which a Bartholomew map was finished.

The half-inch series of touring maps is a good example. It was possible to buy a straightforward paper copy, which was essentially exactly as the map would have looked straight off the printing machine.

Maps mounted on cloth

For an additional cost, you could choose to have the map mounted on cloth, typically linen, which made the map stronger and less liable to tear. For a few pennies more you could also have the map dissected. This involved cutting the map into small sections and then pasting those on to a linen backing. This allowed the map to be folded, making it much easier to carry.

Mounting a map on cloth involved laying the map on a table and adding glue to the reverse, the linen backing was then applied. Piles of maps were built up before they were hung to dry on ropes which spanned the width of the room. Once dry, the maps were then trimmed, folded if required and had their cover applied.

Folding patterns

The way a map folds is an art in its own right and Bartholomew experimented with many different folding patterns.

Until the 1950s, all of Bartholomew's maps were folded by hand. Print-runs of popular maps, like some half-inch sheets, could be over 100,000, giving an idea of the scale of this task. By the 1970s, equipment such as Stahl folding machines finally mechanised this laborious process.

In the 1970s, this department moved to new premises in Loanhead, near Edinburgh, and the Map Mounting Room became the new home for Bartholomew's reference library.


Go to Map Mounting Room page