Cartographic Establishment of Alexey Ilyin

The Cartographic Establishment of A. Ilyin was founded in 1859 by the General Staff officers Alexey Afinogenovich Ilyin (1832-1889) and Vladimir Poltoratsky (1830-1886). The firm was originally known as the Chromolithography of Poltoratsky, Ilyin and Co., but after Poltoratsky’s departure in 1864, its name was changed to solely reflect Ilyin’s stewardship. Alexey Ilyin served as cartographer for the Military Topographic Depot of the General Staff and was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General. He thus had privileged access to government map archives, granting him a great competitive edge over his rivals.  After the death of Alexey Afinogenovich, one of his sons, Alexey Alexeevich Ilyin (1857-1942) assumed control over the firm. By 1882, the enterprise reached its zenith, producing up to 6 million impressions, accounting for around 90% of all civilian cartographic products published in Russia. The company prospered until it was nationalized following the Communist Revolution of 1917.

The Ilyin firm issued large national transport wall maps of Russia that embraced Siberia, of a similar form as the present map, as early as 1888. Various editions of the map were issued regularly from this time up to World War I, all with essentially the same style, albeit with a slightly different configuration of insets and spacing.

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