W. & A.K. Johnston was one of the UK's major publishing houses during the 19th century. The brothers William and Alexander Keith Johnston learned their trade working for the Scottish globe maker James Kirkwood.
Subsequently they set up their own publishing business in Edinburgh. Their initial master stroke was to buy the the established Scottish publishing company, William Lizars. Lizars had expertise in making finely detailed engravings of natural history. As they gained expertise and scale, the Johnstons expanded into maps, atlases, globes and more.
The Johnston firm became well known for high quality, accurate maps and atlases. Some of their prestigious atlases include the National Atlas of General Geography, The Handy Royal Atlas of Modern Geography, Johnston’s School Astronomical Atlas and The Royal Atlas of Modern Geography.