AUSTRIAN EMPIRE. MAIRE, Francois Joseph. Carte Hydrographique des Etats de la Maison d'Autriche en deca du Rhin... Vienna: 1786.
Four sheets joined (40 x 60 4/8 inches, full margins, showing the plate mark). EXCEPTIONALLY FINE MAGNFICIENT engraved wall-map of the river systems connecting with the Rhine, extending from the Adriatic to Kracow, Lemburg to Frankfurt, title in French and German at lower left and right corners, surrounded by a superb extended vignette of a canal passing through a lock and tunnel.
Maire's map covers a vast territory, centred on Vienna, and shows his grand scheme for an extensive network of canals, including a link to Trieste on the Adriatic, which he explained in his "Mémoire raisonné sur la circulation intérieure du commerce dans les Etats de la maison d'Autriche,. ou Plan général de navigation par les routes d'eau de toutes les terres d'Europe à la ville de Vienne" of 1788.
Maire was based in Vienna, and described himself as a hydrographer and military Engineer, and his extravagant map gives a full overview of the water transportation links across the Empire, vital for the passage of large quantities of goods and products that began to be produced as the Industrial Revolution took hold.
The large-scale map covers the area from the Adriatic Sea north to Frankfurt and Dresden; from Dresden east to Prague and the Czech/Polish border; and east from the Adriatic coast covering Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia, into Hungary and Romania.
Sheet 1: Mantua, Venetia, Helvetia, Austria Tyrol, Croatia, Bosnia and Corinthia
Sheet 2: Slovenia, Sirmia, Bosnia, Vania and Croatia
Sheet 3: Franconia, Bavaria, Austria, Bohemia and Moravia
Sheet 4: Poland, Hungary, Galicia, Buconia, Transylvania and Moldavia
When Maire's plans were put into practice it is interesting to note that the engineers followed the English pattern of canal building. Not only was the Wiener-Neustadt Canal a replica of an English narrow canal, with boats just over 2 metres wide and 22 metres long, but it was built by a private company as part of the development of the area's mining industry. There were suggestions that it should cross the mountains to the Adriatic, but it was realized that this was impossible with the finance and technology of the time. The route was eventually completed by the Semmering Railway. A similar sized navigation to the Wiener-Neustadt Canal was built on the Naab, near Regensburg, in Bavaria