The trial sheet of the Atlas Suisse (1796)
Cartographica Helvetica 16 (1997) 23–30
The map Carte d'une partie très interessante de la Suisse was printed in 1796 as a trial sheet for the planned Atlas Suisse. This atlas represents an important milestone in the history of Swiss cartography. It was the first new and uniform map series of Switzerland, published between 1796 and 1802 and consisting of 16 sheets in the scale of approx. 1:120,000. It was unsurpassed until the era of Dufour fifty years later. The Atlas Suisse was a private project, directed and financed by the industrialist Johann Rudolf Meyer from Aarau, who commissioned Johann Heinrich Weiss from Strasbourg and Joachim Eugen Müller. They initially constructed a relief model of the entire country and used it as a base for the topographic map.
The trial sheet is oriented to the southwest and does not fit into the final sheet division. The legend as well does not correspond completely to the Atlas Suisse. Several symbols like roads and cultural features were changed in subsequent map series. No significant alterations were made to the hachuring representing the terrain. A novelty at that time was the use of a second copper plate for printing the blue hachuring for the glaciers and snow-covered mountain peaks. The trial sheet covers mainly the region of the Bernese Oberland, which was already well known to Swiss and foreign tourists.