by Infogram
Create infographics

Vintage Infodesign [160]

Examples of pre-digital infographics, maps and diagrams

September 5, 2016

To open this week’s Vintage InfoDesign, we picked a late-19th Century publication entitled “The Harmonograph. Illustrated by Designs actually Drawn by the Machine by H. Irwine Whitty, MA” (pdf), courtesy of polymath artist Anita Chowdry.

The book showcases a series of designs drawn by an Harmonograph built by H. Irwine Whitty himself, as he explains in the preface: ” In January 1892, the Norwich Science Gossip Club, of which I had the honour to be President for that year, held a conversazione to celebrate its coming of age, having just completed its 21st year. It was suggested that the Harmonograph would probably be considered an interesting exhibit; and this suggestion, joined to the fact that I had long been desirous to construct the machine for myself, gave the necessary stimulus.”

As Chowdry points out, “H. Irwin Whitty’s fascination and delight with the machine that draws is as pertinent today as when he penned his elegant prose more than 120 years ago. Picturing the meetings of the gentlemen of the “Norwich Science Gossip Club” evokes scenes from an H.G. Wells novel; we can fast forward to our present, with a discussion by Kalliope Monoiyos in the Scientific American blog Symbiartic, in which she ponders the perennial question “Can machines produce art that moves us?

Take a look at two of those drawings, followed by our regular selection of old maps, diagrams and graphics:

The Harmonograph (1893) | H. Irwine Whitty

(image: H. Irwine Whitty)
(image: H. Irwine Whitty)

(Via Anita Chowdry)

Singapore, Mileages Along Roads (1936) | Federated Malay States Survey department

(image: Federated Malay States Survey department)

(Via National Archives of Singapore)

Meet the Atom-age baby (1955) | Fortune magazine

(image: Fortune magazine)

(Via Fulltable)

Railways in the Netherlands (1956) | ISOTYPE Institute

(image: ISOTYPE Institute)

(Via Centraal Bureau voor Statistiek)

What Germany Wants (1917) | Edward Stanford

(image: Edward Stanford)

(Via Wikimedia)

Iron ore in the Americas (1945) | Fortune magazine

(image: Fortune magazine)

(Via Fulltable)

State of Sonora (1895) | Aurelio Cadena y Marin

(image: Aurelio Cadena y Marin)

(Via Rare Maps)

The Gallapagos Islands (1744) | Emanuel Bowen

(image: Emanuel Bowen)

(Via Rare Maps)

The Defeat of The Iroquois on Lake Champlain (1609) | Samuel de Champlain

(image: Samuel de Champlain)

(Via Wikimedia)

Invasions of Great Britain and Ireland (1914) | Illustrirte Zeitung

(image: Illustrirte Zeitung)

(Via JF Ptak Science Books)

Island of Oahu (1931) | Ruth Taylor White

(image: Ruth Taylor White)

(Via David Rumsey Map Collection)

Map of Surabaya (1897) | J.F. van Bemmelen and G.B. Hoover

(image: J.F. van Bemmelen and G.B. Hoover)

(Via Wikimedia)

Spotter’s Guide for Enemy Aircraft (1915) | The Illustrated London News

(image: The Illustrated London News)

(Via JF Ptak Science Books)

Topographical & Complete Map of San Francisco (1852) | William Marston Eddy

(image: William Marston Eddy)

(Via David Rumsey Map Collection)

A New Map Of Nth. Carolina (1846) | Samuel Augustus Mitchell

(image: Samuel Augustus Mitchell)

(Via Rare Maps)


That’s it for today’s round up! We’ll be back next week with another selection, 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.