Secondhand Love Affair: Vintage School Maps


These days, iPads Apps and Google Maps may have entered the school classes to teach kids geography. But once, this was taught with the help of lovely big maps.

Credits: stratski

Maps are big part of my life. My Nr. 1 guy makes interactive maps on the computer for a living. As a hobby he collects all kind of maps. Dozens of atlases, globes, jigsaw puzzles, you name it, we’ve got it. Yes, even the cheesy liquor cabinet inside a faux 17th century globe…

Perhaps my favourite parts of the collection are the school maps. They were made for educational purposes and would depict a part of the world, with the major city’s etc. all marked, but without the names. The teacher would point at cities, rivers, etc. and the children had to call out the right names. Though most of our maps in our collection date from the 1930’s, they are still being made today. As a matter of fact, I remember learning my geography this way in the early 1980’s.

Credits: stratski

There are different kinds. Some show geological stuff like mountains and climate zones, others focus more on human things like industry, agriculture and export. They will show funny icons of sheep or airplanes to symbolize these things. [photo:] Since old school maps are popular collector items, you can buy them quite easily. Book markets, thrift stores and flea markets are good places to look for them. The older ones are beautifully made, from a kind of coated cloth, with wooden sticks on both ends to roll them up for storage, and to keep them straight when they’re hanging on the wall.

Credits: stratski

We usually have only one map on display in our living room, which we change now and then to fit present affairs. When we planned a holiday to Brazil, we had South America on the wall; when Iceland was our destination, we got out the Iceland map. At the moment, Greece is on display, as a reminder of the tough times our relatives in Athens are going through.

Credits: stratski

Here’s another, related, educational map. It’s a stamp of the outline of the Netherlands. Children would get a stamp in their exercize book and have to fill in the blanks. A lovely way to produce lots of exercizes before the xerox machine of printer was invented…

Credits: stratski

Thrift stores are treasure troves for vintage-lovers. Do you have something from a thrift store that remains close to your heart? Share your ‘Secondhand Love Affair’ stories with us by submitting an article and check out our requested posts for this month for more Piggies!

written by stratski on 2012-02-27 #lifestyle #school #map #geography #vintage #stamp #second-hand #secondhand-love-affair


  1. jeffr
    jeffr ·

    cool article!

  2. icomewhenieatcaponata
    icomewhenieatcaponata ·

    i love maps too

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