J.H. Colton


The height of American map publishing


G. W. & C. B. Colton was a prominent family firm of mapmakers who were leaders in the American map trade in the nineteenth century. Its founder, Joseph Hutchins Colton (1800-1893), did not start in the map trade; he worked in a general store from 1816 to 1829 and then as a night clerk. By 1830, he was in New York City. That was where he set up his publishing business a year later.


Outstanding in the field of map making

Colton relied upon copyrights purchased from other map makers, but by 1850, the Colton firm was one of the primary publishers, known for the high-quality steel plate engravings with decorative borders and hand-painted coloration. Colton's maps were revered for their attention to detail in every print they issued during the antebellum era.

In 1855, Colton finally issued his first atlas as two volumes in 1855 and 1856. In 1857, the work was reduced to a single volume under the title of Colton’s General Atlas, which was published in largely the same format until 1888. The firm continued until the late 1890s, when it merged with a competitor and ceased to trade under the name Colton.


Mapping your past

We are delighted to offer authentic hand painted prints from the original engraved plates of Colton's Atlas of the World. These pieces of american print history are over 150 years old and are a delight to behold. They make a wonderful addition to any collection or a decorative hanging for your home or office to map your past.