JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
J.G. Heck wrote and compiled a fascinating, complex, and magisterial work called The Iconographic Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Art, which was published in America for the first time in 1851 following Spencer Baird’s translation from its original German (Bilder atlas zum conversations lexicon...)
The key to his work is the amount of data displayed on each of the 500 engraved plates illustrating this work and the way in which it is arranged. The design and layout of the 30,000 items on these 500 plates was a work of genius, and for my money it is easily the best-presented complex means of the display of data and objects that was published in the 19th century.
In this sample (on one sheet of paper) we see three views of a naval war ship (of at least 24 guns) showing above-deck fore and aft, and then a fantastic cutaway/cross-section showing the four decks below deck. To my experience the technical cut-away is not a common thing to encounter in the 19th century 9or before), and this one happens to be tight, very compact, very detailed, and for all of that quite small. The entire print measures 12x9", with the cross section being only about 2.5" tall.
I've concentrated on one figure at the center-bottom of the engraving, a man four decks down who seems to be shoveling out the horse stalls. In the print he's about 1/4" tall, but as you can see scanned in high resolution it turns out that the artist/engraver gave some fair amount of effort to this tiny figure, which is an impressive act of craftsmanship. He even has a collar: