1936 Nichols Map of Texas Oil and Natural Gas Deposits

[Texas Oil and Gas Deposits.] - Main View

1936 Nichols Map of Texas Oil and Natural Gas Deposits


Apex of the Texas Gusher Age.


[Texas Oil and Gas Deposits.]
  1936 (undated)     26.5 x 34 in (67.31 x 86.36 cm)     1 : 1491072


This is a c. 1936 C. F. Nichols diazo map of Texas oil and natural gas deposits issued at the height of the Texas Oil Boom (1901 - 1940s). The map captures the brief moment when Texas (and the United States) was poised to dominate global petroleum production : the emergence of industrialized Texas, and the beginning of the modern Oil Age. The map was produced using a printing technique intended for fast, short-run printings in the field, suggesting that this was a document not intended for general publication, but for corporate internal planning. That this document should be produced under the copyright of oil magnate C. F. Nichols raises the implication that it was intended for his company's strategic planning of oil drilling and exploitation.
Texas Oil Boom
Texas Oil Boom or Gusher Age began around 1901 with the discovery of massive oil and gas reserves near Beaumont, Texas. The discovery coincided with the peak of America's industrialization, and its consequent insatiable appetite for fossil fuels. Even within a global context, the oil discoveries in Texas were and remain unprecedented in scope. They ushered in an age of development and industrialization, particularly in Texas, but broadly throughout the United States. Strike after strike boosted Texan oil and gas output throughout the early 20th century such that, by 1940, the United States dominated global oil production. Many credit the Texas Oil Boom with the beginning of the Oil Age.
A Closer Look
Oil and gas deposits throughout the state appear as delineated areas filled with dots (oil fields) or 'X's (gas fields). Blue dots mark oil fields from salt domes, most of which are clustered around Beaumont - the heart of the Oil Boom. A legend in the lower-left details twenty-two other natural resources marked alphabetically throughout. These include quicksilver (mercury), graphite, marble, and bituminous coal. Tables estimating the extent of oil and gas in the state occupy the lower right . Additional annotations note fault lines and other geographic features used to determine optimal areas for oil prospecting.
Diazo Print or Whiteprint
This map is a diazo print, also known as a whiteprint or diazo. This printing technique was recognized for its simplicity and utility in field work, and found favor amongst architects and surveyors. A photo reproductive process best understood as a reverse cyanotype or blueprint, the process yields distinctive blue lines on white paper - an improvement on the legibility of cyanotypes, which produced a white image on a blue background. The earliest diazotypes appeared around 1880 and were adopted for military and field cartographic use from about 1895. The diazo process was commercialized in 1923, when the German firm, Kalle and Company, developed Ozalid, a patented diazo paper that made diazotyping even easier. By the 1950s, it supplemented cyanotypes as the reprographic technique of choice for technical drawings.
Publication History and Census
This map was created by C. F. Nichols and published c. 1936. As this map is untitled, it is extremely difficult to trace institutional holdings - we have consequently located no other cataloged examples. The diazio technique with which it was printed naturally suggests an extremely low print run - perhaps 10 - 20 at most, as well as low survivability. This is likely a unique survivor of the Gusher Age.


C. F. Nichols (1890 - November 15, 1949) was an oil magnate in Texas. He is credited with founding the Bee County (Texas) oil industry. He drilled Bee County's first oil well in 1930. Nichols died of a heart attack on November 15, 1949. Learn More...


Very good. Light edge wear. Institutional collection marks in lower left and right lower corners.