We’ve acknowledged that SplashMaps are a new product based on a well established idea from the military. But whilst I’ve previously reported on the escape and evasion maps from WW2 we’d never came across a fabric map story so ingenious as that from the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick, Cumbria. Bright spark, Charles Fraser Smith, was dispatched by the military in 1942 to develop new ways of concealing maps for Bomber crews that found themselves in occupied Europe.
Select factory workers from the Kewick pencil factory would return after the end of the working day to develop and manufacture normal sized pencils that contained full maps of Europe and even a minute compass (8mm in diameter!). The whole construction took the best of material and print technology plus some nifty scrolling and precision metalwork to make the life saving pencil concept work.