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Vintage Infodesign [54]

Maps, graphics and charts from the past

January 27, 2014

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For this trip into the past of visualization, we decided to start not with maps or charts, but with another field that was essential for the development of scientific visual communication: Anatomy, or to be more precise in this case, Osteography, the study of bones for descriptive purposes.

“Osteographia”, or “the Anatomy of the Bones”, was published in London in 1733 by William Cheselden (1688-1752) and is recognized as a landmark in the history of anatomical illustration, thanks to its novel vignettes and its use of a camera obscura in the production of the plates. Cheselden, a successful surgeon based in London, is also well-known for his previous work, “The Anatomy of the Human Body” (1713), which went through numerous editions.

Monique Kornell wrote a great article about this unique work on 2011, published in The Public Domain Review website, so if you’re interested in the history of anatomy and want to find out more about William Cheselden, that’s a good place to start. We leave you with three of the illustrations, to open this edition of Vintage InfoDesign:

Osteographia (1733) | William Cheselden

(image: William Cheselden)
(image: William Cheselden)
(image: William Cheselden)


Industrial Map of New York City (1922) | Merchants’ Association of New York

(image: Merchants’ Association of New York)


‘Wonderground’ map (1914) | Macdonald Gill

(image: Macdonald Gill)


The tower of Babel (c1650) | Athanasius Kircher

(image: Athanasius Kircher)


Map of Dauphine (1747) | Daniel La Feuille

(image: Daniel La Feuille)


Perpetual Motion Machine (1931) | Modern Mechanix

(image: Modern Mechanix)


Map of Europe (1659) | J. Blaeu

(image: J. Blaeu)


Petroleum (1907) | J. G. Bartholomew

(image: J. G. Bartholomew)


Everyday tastes from high-brow to low-brow (1949) | Life Magazine

(image: Life Magazine)


Französische Flotte im Hafen von Brest (1759) | Jakob Andreas Friedrich

(image: Jakob Andreas Friedrich)


Sports car (1956) | Mechanix Illustrated

(image: Mechanix Illustrated)



That’s it for today’s round-up! We’ll be back next week with another round-up of vintage maps, graphics and diagrams, but until then, enjoy our Pinterest board, where we’re posting all of these visual goodies.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.