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New Vintage Map: 1931 Birds-Eye View of Berlin, Germany


After much work, I’ve finally finished digitally restoring another vintage rail transit map, this time a superb birds-eye pictorial map of Berlin, Germany in 1931. It’s full of awesome details (as you’ll see in some close up images below) and clearly shows the major railroads circling the city as red and white dashed lines, complete with little station sheds and labels for the major bahnhofs.

Prints for sale from $28 Zoomable Preview of Map

A lot of clean up for dust, age spots, fold lines and errant ink was required, as seen in this before-and-after view of a section of the map just south of Spandau.

More detail views can be seen below:

Here’s Potsdam, complete with the palace of Sanssouci and the Grunewald Tower overlooking the Wannsee.


The original airfield at Tempelhof, which closed in 2008 after being supplanted by newer, larger airports.


The Tiergarten area, with many points of interest: Zoo Station and its eponymous zoo, Lehrter Bahnhof, the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate leading onto Unter den Linden to the far right.


The “1” in a diamond marks Berlin Ostkreuz (“East Crossing”) station, still the busiest interchange on the Berlin S-Bahn today, as well as an important link in the national rail network.

For those who have asked about it, the reverse side of the map — which contains the legend to the numbered icons on the map — can be found here.


    • Interesting point, Stuart. For me, the mis-registration of the inks is part of what gives the map its charm and character. There’s a very tangible texture to the way that the ink is laid down, and I’d hate to lose that by trying to make everything “perfect”.

      The interesting thing about the printing of this map is that it’s not four-colour process (CMYK) printing at all, but a five-colour lithographic print: those colours being black, yellow, green, light blue and red. There’s some interesting use of halftone dots to achieve effects like the stipple on the roofs of buildings in Berlin, but otherwise it’s pretty basic block-colour stuff. Five inks means five passes through the printing press, and the paper would have “spread” a little bit more with each impression, creating the poor alignment of some of the inks as seen on the final product.

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