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Gulf Stream The Mapping of the Current
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A New and Exact Chart...
Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790) Folger, Timothy
1769 or 1770

This image shows the northwest portion of a four sheet map of the Atlantic Ocean. The image of the Gulf Stream was engraved on the copper plate which made up this portion of the map. The large map was an obsolete one of the Atlantic, showing western Europe and Africa and eastern North America and all of South America. It had been produced earlier by Mount and Page and was labeled "A New and Exact Chart of... Europe, Africa, & America... etc., based on information from Capt. E. Mallery. The old plates were no longer being used.

Franklin asked the post office in England to print the manuscript chart drawn by Timothy Folger showing the course of the Gulf Stream so it could be distributed to the captains of the mail packet vessels to help them avoid the Gulf Stream when sailing west to North America. The post office opted to have the image of the Stream and Franklin's remarks about it engraved on the already existing plate.

Whether it was fully distributed or was helpful is not known, but Franklin was not pleased with the results, so he showed a copy to Le Rouge several years later and he copied that plate and printed it with the remarks in French. (q.v.)

The only copies of the Mount & Page map were lost until discovered by Phil Richardson of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1978 in the Bibliothque National in Paris.

For more information about the charts see:

Richardson, P. L., 1980. Benjamin Franklin and Timothy Folger’s First Printed Chart of the Gulf Stream. Science, 207, 643-645.
and
Richardson, P. L. 1980. The Benjamin Franklin and Timothy Folger Charts of the Gulf Stream. in Oceanography: The Past, M. Sears and D. Merriman (Eds), Springer-Verlag, New York, pages 703-717.