Dating General Drafting Gas Station Road Maps including map codes

Inside and Cover Dates

General Drafting includes an Inside Year Date in the map title block inside most maps, they also put a map Cover Date on most maps issued before 1945.  There are exceptions to this practice.  In the 1920's they did not put dates on the inside or outside of some maps, these maps must be dated by comparing the undated map with the dated maps that preceded and followed them.  Another exception was in 1942, when they published maps with the date 1942 on the cover, and then published an undated version of the same map.  Then after 1980 the Exxon maps are not dated with the exception of copyright dates.  The codes on the Exxon maps are difficult to make sense of, so I will leave that to someone else.

Map Codes

For this discussion, refer to the Esso-NJ-Spreadsheet.   I have made an attempt to acquire all variations of the Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso) maps of the State of New Jersey, clearly I do not have them all, but one can see the patterns in the map codes of  these General Drafting maps.

In 1950 they started using map codes on the maps.  These codes usually contain a month number followed by the last two digits of the year of publication and some other numbers and letters depending on the year.  These Map Codes are not always consistent with the Inside Year Date published inside the map.   From about 1952 to 1979, the pattern is usually two or more versions or Map Codes per year. 

For  a typical year, let's look at 1967, the first map version has a code of W 866 and the second is W 467.  The W 866 represents August 1966 and the W 467 represents April 1967.  So one can assume that the first printing of the 1967 map is in late 1966 and the second printing is in early 1967. 

From 1962 to 1966 the maps are dated Nov or Dec of the previous year, so the 1964 map contains an internal date of Nov-63 and has map codes of W 1063 and W 564, similar to the 1967 example.

A sampling of the Map Codes follows (see the Esso-NJ-Spreadsheet for a more complete list).  

               1952                     49-11-51  and 49-5-52

               1957                     856W  and 257W

               1959                     W 958-3A  and W359-A5

               Nov-1963             W 1063 and W 564

               1967                     W 866  and W 467

               1972                     W 1171  and  W772

These codes are not all consistent with the above pattern, but it is a guideline.

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