One of these maps is in the collection of the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), its original publisher. According to their records, it was designed by William J. Butler, foreman of the APH map shop as an improvement on wooden relief maps, which were labor-intensive to produce. Butler’s design was initially cast in hard rubber from molds, and proved popular with teachers and students. The hard rubber version was sold from the 1940s through the mid 1960s, when the APH switched to plastic (as offered here). The plastic map last appeared in the APH catalog in 1986.
Cartouche: Relief Map/ of the/ United States/ Manufactured by/ American Printing House for the Blind/ Louisville, Kentucky/ Copyright 1939/ The William J. Butler Relief Map/ Louisville, KY. U.S.A. #24613.
“Relief Map of the United States.” Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind. 2 April 2010. http://www.aph.org/museum/virtual_exhibit/exhibit3/e30011a.htm (15 May 2013).