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
These creative displays are found in Marion Florence Lansing's The Wonder of Life (volume 11, Supplementary), published in 1921. They represent a somewhat humanized-but-roboticized/automated approach to displaying he control of the senses, which seems to have been a developing style in the 1920's giving the popular cultural appearance of mechanical people (the term "robot" appearing for the first time in this same year in Karel Capek's play R.U.R.). The images also appear, appropriately enough, in the chapter titled "The Machinery of Our Bodies".
Welcome to the not-too-distant past, the era of my grandmother, when in 1910 50% or more of 10 to 13 year-old boys in Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina were working, and working at real jobs. There does seem to be a remarkable change in the employment situation in the next census of 1920.
[The maps below appear in Statistical Atlas of the United States, prepared by Charles S. Sloane, published in Washington, 1925, plates 230 and 232.]
I found this very unusual map of China in a pamphlet entitled Higher Education's Century of Progress in China, published for the Associated Boards for Christian Colleges in China in New York City in 1938. This is well into a solid decade of internal political turmoil in China, coupled with years of dealing with an invasive Japan, and all rolled up in 1938 with the first few years of an all-out Sino-Japanese War (the second one, the first occurring at the end of the last century). This war wasn't necessarily a war between two opposing armies--it was also a war between the Japanese army and the people of China. This was highly demonstrated from December 1937 to January 1938 with the massacre and mass rapes committed against unarmed combatants in the Republic of China's capital city, Nanjing/Nanking prior to its occupation--this is known as the Rape of Nanking, and is so known for very secure reasons. There was also a devastating flood of the Yellow River.
In a series of decades of difficult years, 1938 was particularly difficult year for China.
That said, this pamphlet discusses the "century of progress" in China by Christian missionaries, and the "birth and development of Christian education there". The situation in China in 1938 for this pamphlet was that there were 300 million illiterate Chinese--"it is a situation that challenges the Christian world!" so it reads. Perhaps what this meant was that they could not read the Bible until they were taught how to read it.
And that was the extent of the recognition of what was going on in China. To capitulate the interests of history those who generated this work included a map of China that included almost no detail except for Christian colleges.
It must have felt very comfortable for the Associated Boards for Christian Colleges in China to have published this pamphlet in 1938, having the China situation well in hand, snug in the comfort of a real or imagined pew, the issue and morality of its optics unchallenged by reality.
I do not unfortunately have much information on this very interesting (and to me unexpected) map, nor do I know very much about the history of Japanese militarism and planning 1925-1935--I do though want to at least post/share it for interested parties.
A Plan of Japan's Proposed Military and Naval Conquest as Revealed in the Strategic Map appears no later than 1933. The single-sheet folded pamphlet contains two pages of text along with the middle two sheets of the map, "Japan's Aim to Dominate the Far East and Pacific Islands". The document was part of a very large collection I bought of the Library of Congress, and according to the pencil notes on the pamphlet it was sent to the L.C. by the "Kuo Min Tang" on May 13, 1933. (It was curious to see the KMT referred to as though it was someone's name, rather than a political party begun in the People's Republic of China in 1894.)
This is a piece of anti-Japanese propaganda coming from the KMT, and it is published by the Chinese National Salvation Publicity Bureau (844 Stockton Street, which looks today like it is the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall) in San Francisco, After all, the Japanese had been savaging around in China on and off since the First Sino-Japanese War at the end of the century, and then again heating things up in the early 'thirties with the Japanese-instigated the Shanghai War and the invasion of Manchuria--the Chinese no doubt were seeking allies wherever they could them.
There are a lot of lines of conquest on this map, encompassing nearly all of South East Asia. The largest sphere of "influence" extends all the way to the Hawaiian Islands, where the Japanese would take the islands by a "naval battle" with the U.S.
I've checked WorldCat for other copies and found only one mention--same thing for the internet.
This map is available for purchase via the blog's bookstore, here.
It is difficult to find children's art from the 19th century--original work, printed work, published work. Very difficult--perhaps even more so for the published work than the manuscript. It is easy to understand why: first, the children would need access to paper and pencil or pen and ink--items that had some cost, that were not inexpensive, not available to the vast majority of children. Their work was ephemeral, produced on slate, or in horn books, or in charcoal on a wall, or in dust. Then, if the children did manage to record their creativity, then it would have to survive a generation of possessionship within their own lifetimes--to survive from the first part of the 19th century, the paperwork would have to survive five generations or more, 150+ years of house cleanings. Tough odds.
That is why it is also a little special when I come across larger manuscript works that have survived against these odds.
This map of the United States isn't so simple as it seems--although there are no major cities located in any states, many rivers are, as well as mountain ranges. The coastlines get a very nice treatment with recessive blue lines, giving the map a certain dimensionality, and the lettering of the states is also distinctive, with the terminals of the letters in the state names ending with dots or lines.
I'd guess that the map was done around Centennial time, 1876 to the mid-1880's, the biggest clues being the inclusive of Wyoming (which sets a date after 1868) and the large Dakota Territory, which would become North and South Dakota in 1889.
As maps by kids go, this one is fairly large at 12x15"--it is about the largest single sheet artwork that I have in a 150-odd pieces of antiquarian children's art collection...also I wonder about how the kid in 1880-whatever got her/himself such a large piece of paper to work with, as it seems to me to be not a simple task.
This fine little inset appears in "Chart of Principal Vegetable Growths and Chief Staples" from Matthew Fontaine Maury's Physical Geography, a classic work for schools, which was printed in 1873. Maury is considered to be the father of U.S. oceanography (The Physical Geography of the Sea (1855), was the groundbreaking work) and was a real pioneer in several areas. This did not exclude his adventures on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Confederate States of America, where he served as Chief of Sea Coast, River and Harbor Defenses, among other things. Maury had a complicated relationship with the idea of slavery, attempting to eradicate slavery (and slaves) by removing the institution and perhaps the owners and their plantations to the Amazon basin.
This small inset (above) measures 6x2.5" in the original on a 13x10" map, and shows the elevations at which certain trees and plants are found. It is an ingenious display, and depicts about 60 different samples. (The print in the map is about 1mm tall, by the way.)
What a simple and semi-magnificent map is this! A spaghetti map of the U.S. featuring road types, more than half of which were allocated as a "low type" of "MUD or DUST".
The map is in a disheartening and potentially numbing pamphlet on road improvement, which-- had there been a simple cover for the work I would have quickly skipped by--however, the maps, data, and the lurking insomnia of boredom is perfectly hidden by this:
Holy cow! This is marvelously striking--and just look at that "T"!
In any event, the pamphlet is loaded with small woodcuts and graphics illustrating its point, which was to take Depression-available workforces and put them to work on repair of old and construction of new roads.
The anonymous illustrator and/or designer certainly made a commendable and superior effort in making this fairly dry pamphlet, um, interesting.
The Chaco-like overlay in this map of midtown/lower Manhattan has a lot of creative opportunities in it--like showing a map of an enormous and mysteriously removed Manhattan, or just-discovered earthworks that were somehow dug into bedrock, and so on.
But it isn't. It is a salt mine comparative overlap using Manhattan as a unit if measurement.
Talk about the "Great White Way"-- this elaborate footprint of salt works, with its wide and short-ceilinged rectangular tunnels that are all illuminated white surfaces would challenge anything that Broadway (ca. 1948) offered. "A Salt Mine as Big as Lower New York" is an unusual map to my experience--of course there must be many of these maps available through the years by the companies that mined salt (and coal, and so on) but to my experience they are not often published for public consumption. The map below is an exception, and simply depicts the rock salt mine at Retsof, NY, ("the largest in the world").It appears in the unevenly-titled Salt Empire of the Largest Producer of Salt in the World, and was published by the International Salt Company in 1935.
Sometimes maps have an unusual ability they can Maps can record human achievement and anti-achievement and show human impact on the environment and vice versa, which is standard, especially if you can see a little deeply into it. Sometimes though there are the little bits--extras--that find their way onto the paper that opens a window to the emotional involvement of people and space, added by the artist or engraver or whoever it might be that last touches the plate before prints are made from it.
This certainly seems to be the case in this cross-section of tough New Mexico earth.
That little adobe building represents the Dona Ana Land Grant back in 1855, when those pioneers had a few decades of roots in the very hot ground there in New Mexico, across from the Rio Bravo, commanding the Mesilla Valley. In the original print, published in the great U.S. Pacific Railroad Survey1 in 1855, the structure is only about 3mm long--very easy to miss until you start looking closely at the sheet, which itself is only 2x2.5 cigarettes high and wide.
I thought the structure had a personality, and looked stolid, strong, and maybe even proud with its long fluttering banner, sitting there in the heights above the river, a strong place perched at the edge of the Jornada del Muerto ("The Dead Man's Journey" or more prosaically and according to Mr. McMurtry, "The Dead Man's Walk")
1. The full title of the eight-volume publication, which was an exhaustive treatment of the U.S. west from the mud below to the birds above, Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economical Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean Made Under the Direction of the Secretary of War, which was published by the U.S. government from 1853-6.
Starting at the year 14 (ACE) with the reign of Augustus Caesar this large two-sheet chronology organizes the rulers of the Western world so far as it was known into the early 19th century. ("Geographie de l'Histoire. ou Situation Relative des Etats et Souverains de l'Europe (in two parts), published by Molini and Landi, in Florence, in 1806.) There are 15 major divisions from the year 400-1800, with a short bit at the top of the first chart covering the previous 386 years or so. The columns show the rulers of reach century for Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain (then subdividing as necessary). There is one column for the "nations barbares" that covers everyone else in about 2" per century; there is another column for the chronology of Popes; one column for a general history of the Christian church, one column for celebrated and famous people, and then a final column for literature and the arts.
You can own these! Check them out on the blog's bookstore, here.
At the very least the chart helps you keep your rulers straight, so to speak--it is also the sort of engaging display of data that if it was hanging up and accessible that people would read it all the time in passing.
The sheets are large (27x21" or 68x53cm, and combined (as I have done in the past) they make a very imposing display 42x27" (106x68cm). The coloring (except for the odd darkish green) is fairly subtle but evident and useful in distinguishing the blocks of data at an easy glance.
I' a big fan of this sort of arrangement and display of data, trying as I used to in graduate school (and still do now) to fit the appropriate memory triggers on any given subject onto one sheet of 8.5x11" paper. It is a highly useful memory exercise, creating your own memory palace.
These charts appear in A. Le Sage (Comte de La-Casas) Atlas historique chronologique et géographique ou Tableau général de l histoire universelle présentant un moyen sûr et facile de classer avec fruit tout ce qui s est passé depuis la création jusqu à Jésus Christ espace de 4004 ans....
In order ot have an Industrial Revolution, you need people, and the people (given the times) needed to live close to where they would work. Large number of people all living in close proximity to work means that they need to live close together; close together means that there needs to be essential services, like water. And of course with water you need a place for it all to "go"--and perhaps the "goingest" of water in the city would be for waste. So, if you can't get rid of waste, then you have no Industrial Revolution. Or something along those lines.
In any event that leads me into this fantastic map of the "other" London underground, the sewer system, the alternative outflowing lifeblood of the great city.
The map appears in the Report of the Results of an Examination Made in 1880 of Several Sewerage Works in Europe, by Rudolph Hering, in the Annual Report of the National Board of Health 1881 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1882), pp. 99-223.
The original version of this map is offered for sale at the blog bookstore, here.
There have been many unusual maps registered on this blog over seven years (see Maps/Presentation of Imagination and Ideas here as well as Maps/History of Cartography, here) not the least of which are several long posts on maps of imaginary places. (I should also say that perhaps my selection for the most beautiful map of all time is the Bellman's Map [of nothing] from Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark.)
The maps below are a presentation of Commonality and Hope in Transport Through a 1939 Kitchen, and appear in Electric Kitchens, and How to Plan Them, published by the Modern Kitchen Bureau (of course), of 420 Lex, NYC. It is much more difficult to find/stumble upon unusual maps such as these compared with displaying the first map to depict California as an island or some such notion, so I think it is slightly significant that when these unexpected pearls present themselves that they should be shared, or at least indexed.
Electric Kitchens and the Kitchen Bureau were no doubt funded by Con Edison or a manufacturer of electric kitchen appliances, because what we see in this pamphlet is the promise of saved time and efficiency and cleanliness by using electric stoves and dishwashers and refrigerators and mixers and blenders and ovens and ventilating fans and toasters and even clocks.
And so, movement in a pre-mostly-electric kitchen looks complex:
Whereas the promise of the new ultra-electric kitchen looks incredibly streamlined, with a message to the reader that you won't spend any time in the kitchen at all:
When these folks say "minimum" they really mean it--really, it is more like minimum being the maximum.
And since we're on the min/max bit right now I would be remiss if I didn't include a view of the modern kitchen, offered in modern color:
Click a state and more detailed parts of the questionnaire are revealed, including whether the climate change is largely a result of human action and thirteen other questions arranged in the three areas of policy support, risk perception, and beliefs.
One odd thing is the percentage of people opposed to renewable energy R+D--I'm not sure why 21% would say so, why someone would be against becoming more-or-less self-sufficient. Another 25% are opposed to regulating CO2 emisisons, which combined with the renewable opposition is frustrating to comprehend.
The 2015 World Population Cartogram, showing country population in discrete blocks equal to one million people each. Not a projection but looks like one, and interesting:
SOURCE: NPR blog, here http://i.imgur.com/I81xSNt.png
Drought Map, 2011-2015. There's a fine and scary interactive map if you follow the link to the NPR site showing the development of the drought situation in 1200 counties in the U.S.
As we can see here he had the idea of constructing a straightaway through the three famous bends of the River Thames in East London. The straight part would be used for commerce while the bends would become docks and yards.
Another vision by Reveley is seen below, from page 113 of Alexander Forrow's The Thames and its Docks, a Lecture (London), 1877 (the full text available at the Internet Archive):
With all of this straightening-out of the river thinking going on in Reveley it is interesting to see that when he applied his brain to the the world of very straight lines as they exist in prisons that he went the other way--following the idea and commission by Jeremy Bentham, Reveley created plans for a circular prison. Bentham's Panopticon was an idea that wouldn't leave Bentham and occupied at least one small part of his brain throughout the 1790's--I'm not sure where in Reveley's head the idea lived, but it didn't live there for long, as the architect died at a very young 39 in 1799. Bentham (born in 1748) lived until 1832, and never did see his Panopticon constructed. (Then again, he may come to see it if someone showed it to him, as his head has been preserved as an on- and off-again display at University College...)