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Vintage Infodesign [90]

More examples of the ancient arts of cartography and information visualization

October 6, 2014

Ah, small multiples… If you’re paying attention to what some of the top data visualization experts say about this particular technique (like Alberto Cairo or Andy Kirk, not to mention Edward Tufte, who popularized the term in his book Envisioning Information), you know that it’s one of the best options to show multi-dimensional data without trying to cram all the information into a single, overly-complex chart.

But as we see almost every week here in this space, there’s really not that much room for “new” in this field, and today’s opening pick shows that’s also the case with small multiples. This set of charts shows causes of death in the United States, according to the 1870 census. The page appeared in the Statistical Atlas of the United States, a project spearheaded by Francis Amasa Walker, then the superintendent of the Census, and was shared not so long ago by Rebecca Onion, who runs Slate’s history blog The Vault.

Mortality rates by state are split into lumpy figures that convey age at death, along with gender. Men always appear on the left, with women on the right; the shaded gender is the one with the most individuals in the sample. The second part of the chart shows distribution of age and gender within populations dying of the named disease.

And after this intriguing first piece, more maps, charts, diagrams and infographics from before 1960, as usual. Hope you enjoy!

Death in the USA (1870) | Statistical Atlas of the United States

(image: Statistical Atlas of the United States)


Second Map of Sacred Geography Gathered from the Old and New Testaments (1704) | Nicolas Sanson

(image: Nicolas Sanson)


Totius Orbis (1589) | Gerard en Cornelis de Jode

(image: Gerard en Cornelis de Jode)


Map of Lüneburg (1889)

(image: Map of Lüneburg (1889))


US War Department (1941) | Fortune Magazine

(image: Fortune magazine)


Air France, Reseau Aerien Mondial (1947) | Lucien Boucher

(image: Lucien Boucher)


Central Europe around Germany (1943) | U.S. Office of Strategic Services

(image: U.S. Office of Strategic Services)


Map of the 1889 World Fair (1889)

(image: 1889 World Fair map)


Map of Africa showing Its Most Recent Discoveries (1880) | Samuel Augustus Mitchell Jr.

(image: Samuel Augustus Mitchell Jr.)


The Fingers as an Aid in Multiplication (1898) | Scientific American

(image: Scientific American)


Le Tour de Monde en un Clin d’Oeil (1876) | M.M. Scott, Daniel Vierge

(image: M.M. Scott, Daniel Vierge)


Walker Bulldog T-41 Tank Cutaway (1951) | Popular Mechanics

(image: Popular Mechanics)


Colton’s Alabama (1859) | Joseph Hutchins Colton

(image: Joseph Hutchins Colton)


Map of Alaska (1909) | Alaska Road Commission

(image: Alaska Road Commission)


The battle for airdromes (1943) | Fortune Magazine

(image: Fortune magazine)



That’s it for today’s selection! We’ll be back next week with another round up, but until then, enjoy our Pinterest board, just with old maps and infographics.

Written by Tiago Veloso

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