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Map, Novelty, Gulf Stream, Atlantic Ocean, Navigation, Antique Print, Philadelphia, 1799


Benjamin Jones (engraver)
[Map of the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic Ocean]
American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia: 1799
Hand-colored engraving
11.25 x 19.5 inches, plate mark
18 x 21.25 inches, overall

A sea chart of part of the Atlantic Ocean, indicating the Gulf Stream in a shaded irregular curving arch from the Gulf of Florida north about to the Grand Bank, and then southeast to the coast of Africa near Senegal and an adjacent region called on the map “Azanhaga.” The chart has rhumb lines and also has numerous arrows showing current or wind directions. Navigational courses are indicated by dotted lines such “usual course from Britain to the West Indies, Carolina and Virginia for sake of the Trade Winds.”

Product description continues below.



The Gulf Stream is a warm and swift Atlantic Ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and crosses the Atlantic. It was discovered in 1512 by the Spanish explorer Ponce de León. In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin became interested in North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns based on observed variations in transatlantic navigation times of various ships. Franklin named the Gulf Stream and worked with ship captains to chart it. His Gulf Stream chart was published in 1770 in England, with a version published in the United States in 1786.

The above offered chart was published in Philadelphia for the American Philosophical Society in 1799. It is based in part on a chart published in the 1780s in London as part of an atlas of the West Indies. The American Philosophical Society (APS) was founded in Philadelphia in 1743. Its mission was to promote education and research in the sciences and humanities. It is still extant today.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning and wear. Creases from folds, as issued, later professionally flattened. Some light offsetting from being folded, as typical.