A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7000 images, 3.6 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, The Paris Review, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 3,000+ total posts
My experience with technical and industrial product catalogs (1900-1950) is that they have the potential for superlative or at least challenging design. Such is the case for the following catalogs issued by Mannesmann Export of Dusseldorf. The designs are unexpected, sharp, colorful, heavy, and anything but the spareness of its product. The catalogs below were all issued in the 1950's.
“It is concluded that the sun's gravitational field gives the deflection predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity.”
I've bumped into a famous piece of phsyics history, a semi-popular report on the verification of the Einstein theory of general relativity. The article is “Eclipse Photographs Verify Einstein's Prediction” adn is found in Popular Astronomy (published in Northfield Minnesota, volume 28, 1920, the issue for January, #1, 1920, with the notice appearing on pp 69-70.) At about the same time there appears the famous and deciding report by F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919" which appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A, Containing Papers of a Mathematical or Physical Character for 1920 (pp 291-332). This is the integral report on which Popular Astronomy reports on for a more general astronomy readership.
This report repeats the famous finding: “It is concluded that the sun's gravitational field gives the deflection predicted by Einstein's general theory of relativity.”
There were many integral components to firing a cannon on a ship, not the least of which were the Powder Boys, the small, young, semi-strong kids who would run the gunpowder from a below-decks armory to whatever gun deck was needed. It was a relatively simple procedure, filling up a longish tube (cannon derived from the Italian cannone--or large tube--which came from the Latin canna from the Greek kannē, meaning something like a reed or any similar hollow thing) with gunpowder and then cannonball/shot and then wad, then causing the gunpowder/propellant to ignite and throw the ball. Basically, that was it, though you needed to maintain the cannon, aim it, and so on (don't forget to first swab the bore from unexploded gunpowder so you don't blow things up!).
The (first) image above of found modernist/semi-dadaist artwork comes form 1812 and was found in Rees' Encyclopedic Dictionary from the article on "Shipbuilidng" and illustrates the ways in which the stern of a ship can be outfitted with cannons--actually, the sterns of the HMS Bodiceae (28 18-pounders) and HMS Hamadryad (36 guns). Also by this time cannons had been carried on naval ships for nearly four hundred years, while the first cannons appeared on the ground in Europe another few hundred years before that.
In the third detail (below) we see the coverage of the four cannons placed in the stern of the Bodicae, mainly pointing out its weaknesses, showing the undefended arc, which comprises about 1/3, or about 60 degrees of the defensive posture. The Hamadryad on the other hand shows 100% coverage of the 180+ degrees of attack possibilities shown, along with secondary and teriary areas of fire coverage covered by more than one gun.
A fine,tiny detail from the full engraved sheet:
And the full sheet:
This is pretty much all that was needed to fire a cannon, except the men of course.
There are many places and objects named for the German Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)--even so in the United States--a recognition and honor paid to a great observer and cataloger of things, the first biogeographer, the scientific traveler's traveler, the man who Charles Darwin called the greatest scientific traveler ever.1 von Humboldt amidst much else also wrote--at the end of his life--a book that began as a composition of lectures that he gave in the 1840's, developing into a monumental work called Kosmos, a General Survey of Physical Phenomena of the Universe, which was published from 1845 until three years after his death in 1862. He meant what he said in the title, and tried to arrange all of the stuff of nature into a comprehensible and logical whole, gathered across five volumes. It is a brilliant masterwork of vision and orderliness, and from what I've read it is like walking into a 3-D library of what was known of much of hte scientific world of the mid-19th century, the very structure and organization of the book being a scientific achievement.
There was a sixth volume to the work, an atlas, that is one of the crowning achievements of the 19th century for the display of scientific data. It is about half-again as tall as the standard-sized text and twice as wide, so the book isn't very big, and the maps are all single-page--but for as relatively small as they are there is a ton of information in them, more so when you realize what must have had to go into the collection of the data to begin with.
I was very taken with this first representative because of its flowing lines (that show the range and occurrence of bird and reptiles) that make it a separate thing of beauty...had I the capacity to remove everything from this map save for the natural history lines, it would stand as an interesting work of very-pre-non-represnetational art. I'm certain that the folks of the 1860's poured over this and other maps in Kosmos, as well of course as the text themselves--this may have been among the first atlases to display some of its data in this way, and would've been fascinating. (Kosmos was actually a very popular work, the first volume selling out in a few months...it was a very popular book.)
1. Found in the Darwin Correspondence Project » Letter 13277 — Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D., 6 Aug 1881, just before Darwin's death.
You can purchase this map--my store has this and another 25 or so original maps from this atlas for sale. Send me an email and I'll send you descriptions...
The path of existence of the non-planet planet Pluto along with the rest of its Solar System friends can be nicely plotted out for visual ease on a series of mostly-concentric orbital lines. Pluto's line is the longest, taking about 248 years to complete its orbit traveling at about 10,600 mph, which means that in a year's 8760 hours that it moves very close to the equivalent along its path as the Earth's distance from the Sun, which is an odd bit of trivial. In any event, it is a long line.
There was another line/Pluto point of interest that takes us much closer to home, and much more near in time and space. Project PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean) was a vast, integral, and magnificent engineering undertaken by the British government to surrepticiously and safely deliver petroleum to the Allied forces in Europe during WWII. It reached through England and across the Channel in two places (code-named Bambi and Dumbo), via pipelines laid under the sea, and supplied armies in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, and Germany (as far as Mainz).
[This is a detail of one of the vast bobbins that were hauled across the sea, unspooling many hundreds of miles of pipe in several lines.] This is what it looked liek apart from a detail image:
Of course getting fuel to your troops in advanced positions is a major undertaking--not being able to do so would kill an army (just such a thing arguably happened with the Afrika Corps). Fuel could of course be trucked in in drums, and sent across the water in ships--but that doesn't come close to the fantastic efficacy of having a pipeline. And this is just what Pluto was--an extraordinary idea made real, with enormous positive consequences.
This book is available for purchase at our blog bookstore, here.
In my imaginary History of Lines there is a chapter or two for humans-in-line(s).In the history of the world, the fourth and fifth decades of the twentieth century—the 1930’s and ‘40’s—were big ones for human lines.Big does not imply good, because as we all know lots of humans lined up for all manner of unspeakable nastiness during this time and well more than 100 million didn’t make it out alive (considering all of the wars, purges, revolutions and stupidity).
The lines here are a little more benign, though with shriveled overtones of corrected respect.
Oppressive obedience in a well-designed environment is still like dressing your ear-infected 14-year-old St. Bernard/Jack Russell (?!) mixed breed in baby booties—its just not right, and these images attest to this simpy comparison. All of these photographs come from a delightful manufacturer’s catalog for linoleum products (Il Linoleim nelle Costruzioni Scolastiche), which was printed in Milano in 1935.(The original is available at our blog bookstore.)
I’ll undoubtedly write a post on this stylistic beauty later on, but suffice to say for right now that it really is a lovely thing.If only we could forget the Mussolini part.Now I’m no fan, necessarily, of linoleum, but if I had to live on a linoleum island far removed from civilization and I had to choose a design for my world, I would choose the designs from this catalog, without hesitation. They’re spare, well-proportioned, beautifully design utilitarian designs; they are also very shiny and cold with a dispirited order, but so it goes.The catalog seems to speak for its times, the inspired design bowing to the weighty needs of the flatulent state.
Even though the people (mainly child people) are in very structured environments, they still look as though they really don’t believe in whatever it was was happening--of course they were at school, or in an academic environment, or hospital, or something (as the titlf of the work states). There is something just wrong in the child-straight lines and seemless expanse of linoleum, something that looks as though details have been left out, that there is a ground-in sameness to everything, that the indifference to difference is so to make the children of a sort of sameness. Ihope that they did okay--most would be around 80 or 85 by now, if they survived.
This curious illustration appears in forty-five volume Cyclopedia of Abraham Rees (published 1795-1820), displaying a system for communicating over distances at night. When this part of the Cyclopedia was printed in 1808, the electrical telegraph was still 37 years away from coming into being--45 years from being somewhat well-used. Before this time (visual) communications over long distances at night were limited to just these sorts of means--lighted semaphores, hand-held torches, that sort of thing.
The system outlined in the (first) illustration above shows how a semaphore was articulated to produce telegraphic signals at night, fashioned with arms that had changeable holes in the arms, allowing light through to specify letters. As cumbersome and time-consuming as this might seem, it was about the only way to communicate remotely across distances (and at night)--so to transmit messages over miles there would be a series of installation s such as these on hilltops, transferring the message from one ot the other, until the destination was research. This idea did not look so antiquated until the electric telegraph took over, making it seem as though this fire-and-wood technology was 500 years old. It was that, and older still--but it is the product of revolutionary development that the great discovery can sometimes bring upon instant antiquarianism on whatever it was that was being replaced.
Signaling at sea at night was somewhat different at this time and didn't include anything remotely close to the alphabet. So the rather complex system that we see here (above) is extremely uncommon--it seems also very unwieldy to put into effect. Unfortunately I don't have the text volume that would explain then entire system and implementation, so I'm going to guess that there was a large, powerful light source that was covered by a tight, black, covering tablet that would eliminate nearly all light leakage. The symbols for each letter of the alphabet (and numerals) would be cut out from another tablet that would fit over the face of the light source, placed between the blank and the light. To transmit a letter the user would then simply remove the blank covering tablet to reveal the light broadcast by the hole or slit in the tablet underneath. The blank would then be placed back, a new tablet for a new letter placed underneath, and the process would begin again: blank (dark); letter (light); blank (dark); letter (light), and so on to the end of the message. I guess the distance at which these symbols could be seen would be dependent on light source, atmospheric conditions, ad so on. The way that the letters are made into symbols seems to me very intelligent, so that you distinguish the differences from an appreciable distance. I like it--its an elegant idea. (Well, maybe it didn't work in this manner, but it seems to make sense to me.)
In grazing "The Geology of New York City and Vicinity", a pamphlet by Chester Reeds and printed by the American Museum of Natural History (NYC) in 1926, I found these maps of the extent and thickness of the last glaciers in the region, and thought them quite lovely.
This was the southernmost lobe of the Laurentide ice sheet, a vast plain of enormous ice that covered most of North America, the last bit of which dissipated around 22,000 years ago. The maps reconstruct a bit of that glacial topography--the physical kind, not the one you'd experience walking around TriBeCa ina brown suit. Where the lines are closest together is the channel where the Hudson River would flow.
While looking through an issue of the Comptes Rendus for the announcement of the funeral of the great mathematician and all-around genius Henri Poincare1, I found in the weekly issue (a fraction of an inch comprising the three-inch-thick half-yearly volume of papers published by the French Academy) this wonderful illustration. It looks a bit like the superstructure to a Cubist dance, and bears a good strong attraction to many of the still images produced by Etienne Marey, maybe even a little like a mirrored representation of a stick figure skeleton of Duchamp's Nude Descending, which interestingly was finished in this same year.
[Etienne Marey, ca. 1880/1]
There's also a bit of early dance notation that the image reminds me of, particularly Raoul Feuillet's publication of Pierre Beauchamp's Orchesography4,
a work published first in 1700 (and then in English in 1706) and
dedicated to instructing people on the movements of the dance:
The image is an illustration for the article "Un nouveau cinematographie a images, tres frequentes", by P(ierre) Nogues, and was a technical rendering of a device that ran film through a projector at a very high speed. Nogues (1878-1971) was an assistant and collaborator to Etienne Marey, who was one of the earliest and perhaps the greatest figures in early cinematography and who--like Eadweard Muybridge--successful managed to create articulate optical machines that could capture and record minute and fast motion in people, animals, blood, and so on. Nogues and his contemporaries lie Georges Demeny, Francois-Franck and Lucian Bull were among the founding encyclopedists of motion. The drawing above was an outline for a sprocket device that feed flexible film through a camera at very high speed (ultimately reaching some 380 frames per second). It is a beautiful thing.
[M. Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (Nu descendant un escalier n° 2, 1912. It is interesting to note in passing that this painting was supposedly rejected in the Salon des Indépendants show of 1912 and then caused a massive set-to in the NYC Armory Show of 1913. The infighting and family strife in the Salon in the 1900-1912 period is so big and complex it would make a fine if drippy daytime television romance drama.]
1. Poincare died 17 July 1912, aged 58; the announcement of the funeral for one of the intellectual kings of the 19th century appeared on page 263 in this issue for 22 July 1912.
Thomas Wright (1711-1786) saw about as deeply into the deep as just about anyone else--he looked into the night sky and pretty much saw all of it. In his book, An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, Founded upon the Laws of Nature1, he described a version of the universe that was influential in the thinking of Kant and Herschel, finding a rectangular/squashed "finite infinity" of stars, "a vast infinite Gulph, or
Medium, every Way extended like a Plane,
and inclosed between two Surfaces".
Our Milky Way, which at the time was thought to be the entire universe rather than a galaxy as it was later discovered to be--one galaxy in a seemingly endless sea of galaxies--was presciently seen by Wilkins as being but one assembly of stars in an "endless immensity" of stars:
"And farther since without any impiety; since
as the creation is, so is the Creator also magni-
fied, we may conclude in consequence of an in-
finity, and an infinite all-active power; that is
the visible creation is supposed to be full of si-
derial systems and planetay worlds, so on, in
like similar manner, the endless immensity is an
unlimited plenum of creations not unlike the
known Universe."--page 143. (Again, the "Universe" eferred to here is the Milky Way galaxy.)
Wright's vision of this plethora of Universes, in which each creation is one like the Milky Way--a radical thought in 1750:
[Part of me wants to include the first Wright engraving in this blog's series on the History of Lines, seeing as how they represent the great Something that seem to be infinitely binding the infinity of universes...]
Wright also writes on the minuteness of the human condition, of the perfect sense of nothingness that is the Earth in a sea of infinite possibilities of other earths and earthy creations, which was definitely an outpost of thinking in 1750:
"In this great celestial creation, the catastro-
phe of a world, such as ours, or even the to-
tal dissolution of a system of Worlds, may pos-
sibly be no more to the great author of nature,
than the most common accident in life with us,
and in all probability such final and general
doom-days may be as frequent there, as even
birth-days, or mortality with us upon the Earth.
This idea has something so cheerful in it, that
I own I can never look upon the Stars without
wondering why the whole world does not be-
come Astronomers; and that men endowed with
sense and reason, should neglect a science they
are naturally so much interested in, and so ca-
pable of enlarging the understanding, as next to
a demonstration, must convince them of their
immortality, and reconcile them to all those lit-
tle difficulties incident to human nature, with-
out the least anxiety."--page 132
1. The full title: An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, Founded upon the Laws of Nature, and solving by Mathematical Principles the General Phenomena of the Visible Creation ; and particularly the Via Lactea. Comprised in Nine Familiar Letters from the Author to his Friend. And illustrated with upwards of thirty graven and mezzo-tinted Plates by the best Masters. London, MDCCL." Full test, here.
2. An odd note about Thomas Wright's personal history, from Science, 1902: "A word, in passing, about Wright. Like many another, so unfortunate as to live ere the
times were ripe, he has been consigned to unmerited oblivion. Even the writer of the entry upon him in the ' Dictionary of National Biography '—a work so uniformly accurate — is unaware of the sources from which information could have been obtained, and so has nothing to tell, — does not even know the dates of his birth and death, or why he was called 'of Durham."--[Science, N. S. Vol. XIII. No. 321. 2-22-1902
An interesting poem by Rafinesque to start of his edition of Wilkins:
"Where ends the range and limits have been set
To mortal eyes, there mental sight begins
To fathom space, and worlds invisible
The mind must feel that space can have no bound*,
Whatever number be of things or thoughts
Others may be beyond—and thus behind
The Nebulas and Belts, our Galaxies
Of stormy clouds and oceans
There stands the central land and throne
Of our wide Universe, the home of Angels,
The seat of Love Divine"
Rafinesque, Poem on Instability, found at the beginning of Rafinesque's 1837 American edition of Wright's 1750 work.
Hermann Plauson, a German engineer and director Fischer-Tropsch Otto Traun Research Laboratories of Hamburg, Germany (in the 1920's) built on an idea of N. Tesla to "convert alternating radiant static electricity into rectified continuous current pulses". It was an expansive idea of at least artistic merit, as seen in his patent application (below) and visualization of the completed installation.
"For many years electrical engineers have endeavored to devise some means whereby it would become possible to utilize the free electrical energy ever present in the atmosphere, but they were not successful, as every now and then an extra heavy surge of static current would rush down the elevated conductor and endanger the lives of the experimenters, or else destroy the apparatus connected with it. A German engineer has, however, devised the somewhat elaborate scheme here shown in brief, and he has succeeded, at least so his report states, in safely extracting several kilowatts of electrical power from the atmosphere with metallic surfaced balloons, elevated to a height of only 1000 feet."--Hugo Gernsback, "Power from the Air (II)", in Science & Invention, March 1922.
Images of rivers and oceans in 16th century maps can be beautifully-rendered objects. Water can appear as lines thick and languid, curling and wavy, sparse, tentative, adventurous, willing, dashed, timid. Cold. Mostly cold, and full of loneliness and foreboding. And sometimes the sea is just a blank--it is more common to see blank skies in engravings and woodcuts before, say, the 1540's, but the blankness is usually covered by rhumb lines and compass roses and lines of longitude and latitude, compared to the blankness of blank skies, where there is usually nothing to spare us from the blank.
Today I'd like to have a look at the strong and long lines delineating activity in water as the first part of a short series of posts looking at the design of the representation of water by lines. Then, when the lines are done, we'll take a look at dots.
This example occurs in Masuccio Salernitano's (Tommaso Guadati, fl. c. 1476) Novellino, published in Venice by Bartholomeo Zanni in 1510, a tall book of a Decameron-ish flavor, with 50 stories told in five sections, mostly of a waning erotic nature. The lines here are long and very languid. I also like the face in the window.
This complex of lines illustrates the map of Africa found in Montalboddo Fracan's Itinerarium Portugallensium, which was about the earliest published collection of Spanish and Portugese travel and exploration relating to the New World. The work was exceptional and very significant--and very popular, going through fifteen editions in 22 years to 1528.
Titus Livius (59 BCE-17 ACE), better known to the English-speaking world as Livy, was a superior among superiors of Roman historians, writing on the history of his city and country. His work, Romische Historie…,published in Mainz by Johann Schoeffler 1450 years later in 1514, was one of the most beautifully illustrated books ever produced in that city. This is a considerable statement, as Mainz was the birthplace/hotbed of moveable type printing, being home to Johann Gutenberg and a number of other early presses.
One of the most famous printed water scenes is from the (numerous) editions of Christopher Columbus' letter describing his voyage to the New World. It was written (or at least finished) soon after his arrival in Lisbon 4 May 1493, almost exactly 520 years ago, and quickly found its way into print. This image (depicting Hispaniola and Isabella) was printed in Basel in 1494, and served to illustrate the somewhat hopeful and inflated description of what he found on his new voyage.
This image from the mid-16th century is found in the fantastic work on the history of Scandanavia (and etc.) in Olaus Magnus' Histotria di gentibus septentrionale ("History of the Northern Peoples", 1555).
The seas in the map of the Western Hemisphere in Joannes de Stobnicza's Introductio in Ptholemei Cosmographium (Cracow, 1512, and widely believed to be copied or at least very heavily inspired by the Martin Waldseemueller's 1507 map of the world) are very tightly drawn, neatly unifrom, and lovely, as wesee below). This recitation could go on for quite some time, but this gets the point across on heavy lines. Next stop: dots.
These are particularly fine and relatively early printed images depicting a specific kind of line of sight--this one, a positioning, rather than a line of sight in fire control, or radial velocity, EM radiation or acoustics wave propagation, or targeting...this instrument was used to establish an imaginary line in perceived objects.
This is a detail from Andrew Wakley's The mariner's compass rectified : containing tables, shewing the true hour of the day, the sun being upon any point of the compass ; with the true time of the rising and setting of the sun and stars, and the points of the compass upon which they rise and set ... With the description and use of those instruments most in use in the art of navigation. Also a table of the latitudes and longitudes of places, published in 1763 and reprinted many times after that. (Full text is available from Google books and also from the Haithi Trust which offers a text version of the book as well.)
The full page from which the detail is drawn:
There is a certain continuum in developing sight lines that comes to mind, as with this famous image drawn by Leonardo in 1508, perhaps the first modern interpretation of how the eye functions, kept privately in manuscript, the result of theory and experimentation:
Which leads us to the sigh lines of Albrecht Durer, illustrating (some 17 years later) the use of a perspective tool, the vielo, in his work The Drawing Manual published in 1525:
Long is the line in the history of art--far less so the dot.
The line has been part of a long and deep inheritance of rendering a truth, factual, perspectival presence--in general, at least. Certain symbolic and metaphoric elements will sometimes confuse and collapse bits of the image, but the effort for centuries has been to present a balanced nature as close as practicable to its perfection. That was the strength of the line.
The strength of the dot was in doing something not quite the opposite but approaching it.
It is interesting to think of the importance of dots in the first revolutionary changes in 500 years in the history of art. Honestly, there wasn’t anything epochal that happened between the re-discovery of perspective (ca. 1330-1400) and the arrival of Impressionism (and just afterwards of non-representational art) in the 1872/3/4-1915 period.
Dots aren’t brought to bear formally in the revolutionary movement until the early 1880’s. Impressionism for all intents and purposes is formed with the Societe Anonyme in 1872 (whose members included Monet, Pissaro, Degas, Sisley, Morisot and eleven others), and perhaps more realistically in 1874 when the Societe exhibited its first salon. (The first show held at the Nadar Studio in Paris in April 1874; a tiny, one month long affair, compared to mammoth exhibitions like the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1867.)
It was Georges Seurat who brought the whole world to the dot experience with his artistic method of Pointilism, in particular with his magnificent Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte, an enormous work given its composition—dots. The dots replaced the brushstroke, and their placement in relation to their color was an absolutely brilliant innovation, establishing a perfect result for the viewer when examining the work as a whole. (It may well be that the French chemist an designer Michel Chevreul made this discovery a few decades earlier, noticing the effect and changes in color depending on placement and—in his case, with fabric—color in the dyes for his material.)
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), the discoverer of nothingness in art and the introduction of the first non-representational paintings in art history (1913) used his fair share of dots in his exploration of the previously invisible. One good example is his 9 Points in Ascendance (1918), which is nothing but black dots, an impossible composition just two decades prior to its creation.
In the middle of this appeared the half-tone illustration, the great liberator of photographic illustration in popular publication. Invented in the late 1870’s by Stephen Henry Horgan and used in the Illustrated London News for the first time in 1881, it made the publication of accurate images much feasible and economical. No longer were readers dependent on the accuracies of artists interpreting photographs or photographed scenes—the photographs themselves were now publishable at little cost and in high quality, vastly increasing the veracity of published reports dependent upon images. This was revolutionary in its own way, democratizing the sharing of images and icons.
That said about dots, the line was surely used to transport a bit of reality in art, even before the 18th century--among the earliest appearances being with Hans Holbein in his The Ambassadors of 1533, and a beautiful and very famous use was made by Andrea Pozzo in his illusionistic works at S. Ignazio in Rome in 1685 (and which I mention in an earlier post). Certainly Carel Fabritius attempted and succeeded in this throughout his career, playing with the substance of perspective, as we can see here in his View in Delft, in 1652:
Also the lines of the anamorphic image severely distorted the presentation of reality--if you had the mirror to distort it and if you had the mirror to reconstitute it:
This example is much more recognizable in widely-circulated images of the modern work of people like Kurt Wenner, who have continued in the tradition of Leonardo's researches in the difficulties of wide angle distortion:
Seeing this collection of dots in the construction of human faces I was reminded very strongly of the portraits made on the typewriter by Julius Nelson in his work, Artyping, published and sold for a dollar by the Artyping Bureau of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1939 (and pictured first, above). Nelson was an instructor in "secretarial science" in Windber High School in Pennsylvania and no doubt put together this pamphlet as something expressive of his artform and as an advertisement for his profession. This was hardly the first time that anyone used the typewriter artistically, as I can recall some measure of artistic expression in type in Punch magazine as far back as 1869, though portraiture by typewriter does not appear to be a very wide section in the art world between those times. In any event, a portrait that he made here is rather close to those presented on the Modern Metropolis site--the "Dot Portraits" Nathan Manire.
Modern Art would have the final dispositional comment on the typewriter as an instrument of art, when Claes Oldenburg made his Soft Typewriter in 1963:
And then, of course, the magnificent resurrection of the typewriter artform, replacing the spplication of black or red with something a little more complex:
I wanted to share this magnficient image, illustrating the Hortus Malabaricus ("Garden of Malabar:) and found at the great Public Domain Review site, here.
There are many more images in this work, and the PDR links to many more still, but I've picked this one probably for all the wrong reasons, selecting it from the graphic aspect, the differentiation of space, the long line. There is a category for The History of Lines on this blog, but it seems that there aren't many contributions to it, mainly because just about every other thing could classify as such. But this image is certainly remarkable enough to make the category.
Also, it is a quick four-step process in photoshop to render these lines and their botanical aspect/origin into a star cluster via a progression in the spatter filter. A twist here and a simple turn there could render them the opposite way, from sky above to mud below, going from the star cluster to geology, as in the form of agates, and particualrly the more "living/anthropomorphized" agates of the great/greatly-problematic Fr. Athanasius Kircher.
Step 1 (original detail):
And Fr. Kircher's agates, which appear from simply heigtening the smoothing application of the splatter in step four, rendering the star cluster so:
When Kircher looked closely enough at his agates, he saw hidden objects: sometimes a Madonna, other times animals, and still others--and perhaps more famously--town skylines encased in the rock, as with this example from his Mundus Subterraneus (an undefined edition but ca. 1660):
If you looked close enough at the agate-ified Malabar engraving you'll be able to find a town--and just about anything else.