As I have mentioned before, archive.org provides some amazing resources for free download. I thought I would have a look to see what it had in the way of old atlases and I wasn’t disappointed. Here are a couple of my favorites: The Reynold’s Universal Atlas was published in the 19th century and includes over 400 maps an diagrams covering topics such as astronomy, vegetation, geology and the laws of matter and motion. Sadly many of the illustrations are spread over two pages but all are brilliant quality and make many of our contemporary maps appear dull by comparison. The “Tidal Chart of the World” taken from the atlas is shown below.
My second favorite is Justus Perthes’ Atlas Antiquus which is a pocket atlas of the ancient world. What is so great about this map is the fact that it has been scanned at very high resolution. The pdf is therefore >300mb! It includes some detailed maps of Rome and Athens as well as Northern Europe, North Africa, Spain and the Mediterranean. I have included the map of the UK and Ireland below. It would appear that this is part of a series of scanned atlases so there may be more to come.