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Rand McNally & Co

In 1856, William H. Rand opened a printing shop in Chicago and two years later hired a newly arrived Irish immigrant, Andrew McNally. In 1868, the two men established the innovative cartographic publishing house Rand McNally & Co. Their first map, created using a new cost-saving wax engraving method, appeared in 1872. Rand McNally was the first major map publisher to embrace a system of numbered highways, subsequently adopted by state and federal highway authorities. One of its cartographers, John Brink, invented a system that was first published in 1917 on a map of Peoria, Illinois. The company also erected many of the actual roadside highway signs.