In 1926, a research chemist named Charles Promislo accidentally spilled a beaker of chemicals on his laboratory table and left the mess to clean up in the morning. By the next day, the spilled liquids had soaked through some papers. The papers had reacted in a strange way, for each sheet was aged, and wrinkled much like parchment. Being something of a history buff Mr. Promislo was particularly intrigued by his discovery.
He devoted several years to perfecting his unique 11- step paper ageing process. Some 20 years or so later a chance meeting occurred with one Victor Mort. Mr. Mort from England was also something of an historian. He hit upon the wonderful idea of publishing old world maps and applying the parchment ageing process to each one. So it was that Porter Prints was born in the mid-1950's operating from the city of York in England.
Victor Mort was fortunate in that he acquired an original John Speed atlas - The Theatre & Empire of Great Britain published in 1610. Carefully reproduced and individually treated Speed's old world maps almost came to life! The combination of John Speed's masterpieces and Promislo's parchment paper technique was, and still is to this day quite unique. Steve Roberts & Lauren Tillotson acquired Porter Prints in the early '90's From a shed in a Cornish fishing village this heritage gift range from THE OLD MAP COMPANY™ was born. Steve retired from the operation in May 2010 although he is still involved in an advisory capacity from time to time. Lauren is now the sole proprietor trading as The Old Map & Clock Company.
Today, many maps later from those early beginnings, customer interest just continues to grow. The maps remain comparatively rare - the ageing process takes weeks to achieve, and can't be mass produced. With a well established customer base throughout the UK including such world famous heritage sites such as York Minster, Edinburgh Castle & The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, we delight in still offering a unique gift product - so rare in these days.
The Old Map & Clock Company; still a family operation, takes pride in producing these authentic replicas on antiqued parchment paper that look and actually feel old. We could ask a considerably higher price for these wonderful maps - each a gift of heritage. However, the goals of preserving England's history and educating people about our nation's rich heritage, remain just the same as those of Charles Promislo, Victor Mort and indeed the great John Speed himself. As long as we are able to eke out a humble existence, the delight and praise we receive from our customers is our real reward.