1913 Waterlow Railroad Map of Cuba

United Railways of Havana and Connections. - Main View

1913 Waterlow Railroad Map of Cuba


A rare map of Cuba's railroad network before the consolidations of the 1920s.


United Railways of Havana and Connections.
  1913 (dated)     26.5 x 40 in (67.31 x 101.6 cm)     1 : 550000


This is a 1913 Waterlow and Sons railroad map of Cuba detailing the British owned United Railways of Havana. Depicting the island in two sections, fifteen different colors are used to illustrate the railways owned and operated independently of one another. A key situated along the bottom border specifies which color indicates which railroad, the two largest of which, the United Railways of Havana and the Cuba Railroad, essentially split the island in half. Stops are labeled along all the railways, with a smattering of towns and villages not connected to the rail network also identified. An inset map situated in the lower left corner details the railway network in the vicinity of Havana, tracing the routes of six different companies. A view of the new railroad terminal in Havana, operated by the Havana Terminal Railroad Company, an American company that was in fact a subsidiary of the United Railways of Havana, is included on the upper right.
The United Railways of Havana
Following the American Intervention in Cuba after the Spanish-American War, the United Railways of Havana passed into British hands. The London-based board passed marching orders onto operational managers in Cuba. When Cuban railroads consolidated in the early 20th century, only the rival United Railways of Havana and the Cuba Railroad Company remained. Their rivalry lasted through the 1950s, until Castro nationalized the railroads in 1960.
Publication History and Census
This map was created and published by Waterlow and Sons in 1913. Only one example is catalogued in the OCLC, associated with the National Library of Wales. We are aware of one further example in private hands.


Waterlow and Sons (1810 - 1961) was a British engraving and printing concern active in London specializing in currency, postage stamps, bond certificates, and occasionally maps. The firm was founded by James Waterlow (1790 - 1876) in 1810 on Birchin Lane, London, as a legal document printer and copyist. By 1852, they had expanded into stamps and his sons, Albert, Alfred, Sydney, and Walter joined the business. One year after James Waterlow's death, in 1877, infighting among the sons led Alfred Waterlow to split off, forming Waterlow Brothers and Layton. The rift was settled by 1920, and the two firms once again merged under the Waterlow and Sons imprint. They were involved in the Portuguese Bank Note Affair of 1925, wherein the Portuguese fraudster Artur Virgílio Alves Reis convinced the firm to print 200,000 banknotes of 500 Portuguese Escudos each, amounting to roughly 88% of Portugal's GDP. The affair was settled in court with a ruling against Waterlow. In 1928, Waterlow lost its most lucrative contract, printing English banknotes, and began to fall into decline. In 1961, they were acquired by Purnell and Sons who, shortly afterwards, sold the firm to De La Rue. Ironically, De La Rue acquired the contract to print Bank of England banknotes again in 2003 – 75 years after Waterlow lost it! More by this mapmaker...


Good. Dissected and mounted on original linen in 24 panels. Exhibits some discoloration in upper left quadrant relating to verso repair. Original linen reinforced in places on verso.


OCLC 1119767160.