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Map, Novelty, United States, Zylo-Karta Game, Cartographic Curiosity, Antique, New York, 1884


William R. Norris (manufacturer)
Norris’ Map of the United States of America together with adjacent portions of the Dominion of Canada and the United States of Mexico [Zylo-Karta Games]
Wm. R. Norris, New York: 1884 (Patented June 18, 1883 )
15.5 x 23.75 inches

American map game designed to teach political and geographic information. The United States map is color-printed in tones of green, orange, and yellow on wooden tambour slats that roll up like the covers of a roll-top desk for compact storage. The map is pierced with 102 square holes for wooden pegs called “city pins.” 92 city pins are included in an original cheesecloth bag (the other 10 called for lacking). The pegs are imprinted with the name of a city, its population, whether it is a state capital, a short list of business and industry, and sometimes information regarding its location.

A slightly later 1886 example of this map game is known, also published by Norris, named “Zylo-Karta Games.”

Product description continues below.


The map shows the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The Dakotas are shown as Dakota Territory, Oklahoma as Indian Territory and in the West and Southwest are Idaho Territory, Wyoming Territory, Montana Territory, Arizona Territory, and New Mexico Territory. Mountain ranges indicated; Adirondack mountains in New York State named.

Examples of the peg information include:

“AUSTIN, Pop. 10,960, Capital of Texas. B. I. Legislative and State Land Office affairs, dealing in Cotton, Wool, Cattle &c.”

“MONTREAL, QUE., Pop. 107,225, Largest City in Canada. On the St. Lawrence River. B. I. Mercantile Manufacturing Commercial.”

Instructions under Cartouche:

“Forming part of the apparatus made use of the Norris system of Geographical instruction. Designed for use in Schools and in the family circle. . EXPLANATION[.] The marks consisting of spots within circles denote State and Territorial Capital locations. Those consisting of one circle denote locations of the more important Cities and commercial Centres [sic] of the States and Territories. The square holes adjacent to the circular marks are for the reception of small wood blocks which bear upon their sides names of places, together with [?] descriptions of them.”

Condition: Generally very good, the map with little to no wear. 10 wooden pegs lacking. Possibly originally issued with wooden box, lacking.