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John Cary (c.1754-1835) was an English cartographer, engraver, globe maker & publisher. His work included English county maps, sectional maps of England and Wales, the environs of London, canal, highway & celestial maps. We stock maps from his New and Correct English Atlas (1787), Traveller's Companion (1790-1812-1828), New Map of England & Wales (1794), & Survey of the country 15 miles around London (1786), plus others. Cary’s maps catered to a growing need for accurate road maps in the late 18th century. His engraving and craftsmanship produced maps of a high standard that were clear and easy for the user to interpret.
He became an apprentice to William Palmer in 1770 as an engraver in London, before setting up his own business in 1783. He soon gained a reputation for his maps and globes, and his New and Correct English Atlas became a standard reference work in England. He was commissioned by the Postmaster General to produce accurate maps of English highways and his Traveller’s Companion, which contained the so-called Cary miniature county maps, was based on the resulting brand new survey of the English and Welsh turnpike roads. The work was extremely popular and was a primary influence in the preliminary work of the Ordinance Survey office, (est. 1791). Distances were measured using a four foot wheel connected to a counter, which kept a tally of the number of rotations. This measuring device had to be pushed by hand along all the roads surveyed. It later resulted in Cary’s New Itinerary (1798), a map of all the major roads in England and Wales. He also made Ordnance Survey maps prior to 1805.
His business passed to his sons George Cary and John Cary the younger. It was taken over by G. F. Cruchley in 1844, and subsequently by Gall & Inglis. Cary’s plates were used by other publishers well into the 19th century and it is thought that some continued to be used into the 20th century.