By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (February12, 2024) – Today’s edition of Fun with Maps takes to the racing streets of the early twentieth century – New York to Paris


On February 12, 1908 an auto race began in New York’s Times Square.  The finish line was in Paris.

Six cars representing 4 nations – Germany, France, and Italy – travelled west to San Francisco where they traveled by Ship to Alaska, then Japan, and Siberia.  At that point the non-existence of passable roads found the number of competitors cut in half.

From Siberia, the spring thaw saw daily progress measured in feet and not miles.  But roads improved as Asia gave way to Europe, and the American George Schuster in a Thomas Flyer crossed the finish line in Paris on July 30.  He covered the 16,700 kilometers in 188 days, arriving a whopping 26 days ahead of the next competitor.  The winning car and race trophy are on display in the American Automobile Museum in Reno.

The race had the significant impact of improving road conditions all over the world and establishing the automobile as a reliable mode of long distance transportation.

The World Race in 2011 set out to recreate the event, with the great-grandson of Schuster as one of the drivers.  The pace was a bit faster, leaving New York on April 14 and 4 of the cars making it to Paris on July 21.

Mercator’s world map shown here is from 1695. The depiction of Asia is limited, the Americas are absent and so is much of the southern hemisphere.

World Map – Circa 1695 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.