Lindgren Brothers Struck Gold With Their Hysterical Map

Illustrated maps in the 1920’s and 1930’s were associated with automobile tourism and consumption of automobile goods and services while promoting the values of patriotism, family responsibilities and other positive values.

During the Great Depression, sign-making and advertising businesses suffered from the economic calamity. Jolly and Ott Lindgren believed that they needed a new product that would put a smile on people’s faces. Jolly came up with a plan of illustrating an entertaining map of Spokane. Hysterical maps circulated throughout the United States and gained national recognition.  

The illustrated map of Spokane was essentially an advertising map for the Kindgren Brother’s Company. The garish 5-toned map included cartoon figures and wit with the company’s name, address and phone number and a calendar at the corner. Instead of a historical map, Ted Turner Jr. called it the hysterical map, a slightly cockeyed map of Spokane county.

The hysterical map represented the Spokane area rather well and after 7 printings, the Lindgren brothers knew that they struck gold. The Lindgren’s also used a crude type of printing method using silk screen stencils photographically. The method was revolutionary but it was able to reproduce the fine details of letterings and illustrations.

Screen printing was a relatively new technique that allows reproduction of a multi-colored image. Since the Lindgren brothers did not have the new equipment, they tried to figure out the process. They used silk bolting cloth and used it as a screen for the stencils. They accomplished printing by applying paint through the open mesh of the stencil. They used house paint but gave it the right consistency to achieve proper drying, non-blotting and sharp lines.

For the next 20 years and so, the Lindgren company was able to create hysterical maps of every US state, national parks and tourist destinations. They also led the national trend for decals and conceived the humorous if violent “ sign “No Trespassing, Survivors will be prosecuted”. The signs were reproduced and sold in department stores across the country.

You can visit if you need illustrated maps for promotional purposes. An illustrated map of your resort, campus, city, and town or tourist destination can be created so that you will have a unique advertising tool.