Vintage Infographics From the 1930s

Sep 11, 2009

Someone needs to get me a paper copy of Willard Cope Brinton’s Graphic Presentation (1939), because it is awesome.

Brinton discusses various forms of graphic presentation in the 524-page book and what works and what doesn’t. There’s also some good stuff in there about how to make your graphs, charts, maps, etc (by hand).

Have we seen these?

The most interesting part is that many of the graphics – despite having no computers in 1939 – look a lot like what we have today. Albeit, they’re a little rougher because they’re made by hand, but that’s just added flavor.

For example, you’ve got the Sankey diagram above, or a “cosmograph” as Brinton calls it. The instructions read:

One thousand strips of paper are set on edge to represent 100% and are separated into component parts of 100%.

What? You want me to arrange 1,000 strips of paper to make my diagram? Brilliant, I say.

Here are your choropleth maps…

choropleth

network diagram…

network

and of course some of your usual suspects…

time-series

The entire book is freely available in PDF format, but it’s low resolution and takes forever to browse. Michael Stoll has posted some higher quality shots on Flickr.

I still want more though.

Seriously, does anyone know where I can get a copy?

[via Datavisualization.ch]

27 Comments

Favorites

The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011

I almost didn’t make a best-of list this year, but …

Jobs Charted by State and Salary

Jobs and pay can vary a lot depending on where you live, based on 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s an interactive to look.

One Dataset, Visualized 25 Ways

“Let the data speak” they say. But what happens when the data rambles on and on?

Think Like a Statistician – Without the Math

I call myself a statistician, because, well, I’m a statistics graduate student. However, the most important things I’ve learned are less formal, but have proven extremely useful when working/playing with data.