A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7500 images, 4 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 4,200+ total posts
You wouldn't know about the highly-designed images in the work Highway Transportation by its title ("published in the interests of the shipping public") by Consolidated Motor Lines Inc (1939). Nor would you assume how dry the interior was by the pamphlet's cover. In any event the Earth (with the poorly-drawn North America and the trunk-running ring around it)seems to be well under control by trucks, standing by in deference to the enormous quantities of oil consumed by trucks and other truck-related truck things, sweeping past it like the tail of a comet. It is just an odd map, and that's pretty much that. The sharp and streamlined plastic cover must've been shiny enough for everyone to think of it as an advanced work.
And the equally odd and slightly disturbing streamline-y cover:
the following two images are found in a small pamphlet on the general election and single-question referendum held in Germany on March 29, 1936 (Des Deutschen Volkes Schicksalswende am 29. Marx). as it turns out the small pamphlet accordion-folded oput to about 2.5 feet, which was printed on both sides. Anyway the single question was whether the voter wanted a single-party representation by the NSDAP in the Reichstag--not surprisingly whatsoever the German population voted/"voted" 99% in favor of the proposal. The pamphlet was a gross propaganda instrument, as was the "election/referendum", and it contained a number of striking images, though perhaps none so as near-unforgettable as that showing Hitler arising from a living-person map of Germany:
Hitler came to power via a number of elections--he didn't just take it, or at least not until 1933; 44 million people voted in March 1933 (an 88% turnout), and 17 million voted for the NSDAP and Hitler giving him the popular vote and the most seats in the Reichstag. In the November 1933 ("Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer, Ein Ja") elections, 39 million/92% voted for Hitler, which was another story. And here he is, rising from a sea of Germans, three years later, a leader restrictive of enemies and opposition, the whole thing looking horrible.
Here's another bit from the same 12-panel accordion-fold pamphlet, a propaganda map showing the possibly-invasive weaknesses of the Versailles-dictated German army. AS in the case of several other maps posted to this blog on this 1934-1939 geographic creation of risk and threat, this one depicts a heavily-armed and populated French army looking at Germany, while the relatively-meagre 100,000-man German army quietly protects itself on the borders 50km away from the Rhine. I guess it might have been effective if people were actually voting in this election, for scared people to vote their scared conscience for the man who scared them. The writing however was on the proverbial wall, and the only thing left to do with the Versailles treaty at that point would be to scrap it. About four years later the Nazis would come sweeping down on France and by June 22 the French would be signing a humiliating surrender instrument.
Not long after Hitler's election in 1933 this curious pamphlet appeared: Ein Kampf um Deutschland (1933), short and thin, is a work filled with anti-Communist photos and images portraying them in as harsh a bad light as you could muster in 32 pages.One of the images is this map showing in no uncertain terms threats to Germany from the west, but most importantly a gigantic threat coming from the Communist east, the arrow striking right through the heart of Germany, with the hammer and sickle (the symbol only about 16 years old at the time) coming to rest just about on top of Berlin.
For all of this Hitler would sign a Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union six years later (22 August 1939) with the plan of dividing some Eastern conquests with the Russians. Less than two years later came Operation Barbarossa, with Hitler launching a massive surprise invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. Dozens of millions of lives later, it would all be over in four years.
And the opened cover for the pamphlet, or what is left of it:
Čtyři léta války v mapách ("Four Years of War...in Maps"), published in London, ca. 1943, is a Czech-exile publication showing the development of the war in a number of very striking maps. The maps end at the publication of the pamphlet--except of course, for the 1948 map. The culminating interest though shows the Nazis surrounded, and put to the final test--it is the first map I list, below, even though it was about the last map in the pamphlet. It is a rare thing, this pamphlet, and it does not show up in the usual places. There are only seven copies located in the WorldCat/OCLC, all in top-notch libraries: NYPL, Yale, Harvard, Harvard Law, UC Berkeley, Oxford, and Nanterre.
An overall view of the progress of German war conquests:
I came upon this table of the heights of structures while looking for another chart showing the heights of mountains and the lengths of rivers, with the lengths of rivers nestled between the mountains in an upside-down pyramidal mountain form in the sky--yes, it is a striking design. In the attempt of not finding a good copy that could be downloaded and shared there was however success in the serendipitous find of the following print:
SOURCE: I was happy to find this at the tumblr account of Atlas of Affinities: http://atlasofaffinities.tumblr.com/image/76306197926 Barbie du Bocage, "Tableau Comparatif de la Hauteur des Principaux Monuments", 1852.
The color isn't quite right but that came as a result of manipulating the sharpness and clarity (and contrast) to make the legend somewhat more legible than in the original, which wasn't a very chunky scan. In any event there is a clearer image if you click on this, and I'm pretty sure that all of the numbers and structures are reasonably legible.
$650 doesn't sound like much in today's dollars, but in 1912 that 650 would be about equal to the average salary of a factory worker1; so, if you calculated the trip of 1/3 year at the average salary today of, say, $45,000, it feels more expensive. It doesn't translate all that well, really, but it does give a good idea of what that 650 meant in 1912.
Uncle Sam is taking a breather from his work on the Panama Canal, which is clearly under construction in the vignette at bottom left and something that wouldn't open for business for another two years. The Hamburg American Line was definitely associating the grand undertaking in Panama with its around-the-world cruise offering--the Panama engineering feat was certainly considered one of the wonders of the world. The zeppelin flights were extraordinary in themselves, what with making transatlantic flights with 400-800 people (depending on the airship) who received three square meals a day, could rent their own rugs, go to the barber and to the ship's library, and listen to the airship's band.
The bottom line here is that this is a great design, and as advertisements go it seems to be very effective.
(See http://www.gjenvick.com/PassengerLists/Hamburg-AmericanLine/Westbound/1912-11-01-PassengerList-PresidentLincoln.html#axzz43r2FHFKT for various passenger lists, activities, menus, and the like.)
1. See an earlier posst, http://longstreet.typepad.com/thesciencebookstore/2009/09/the-overworked-working-poor-of-1914-women-and-children-and-what-they-didnt-get-paid.html
I've known about this famous map/curiosity by Jean de Gourmont (ca. 1570) for some time, though I never seem to meet it out there in the world very often. Yesterday though I discovered that there was a fine 19th century reproduction of it in the studio, and so I thought I had a closer look now that I had a good copy in my hands.
And then when I looked the map up I found a number of good descriptions of it that pretty much took care of its description and interpretation. The baseline description is that it is mostly an allegory on the pursuit of knowledge, and of knowing, and thinking about the nature of knowledge--my read is that in the end, only a fool would think that the more they knew the less there was to know. The famous Ortelius map ("Typus Orbis Terrarum") in the face of the jester could represent a gridwork of what we think we know, though across the top of the image is the dictum from Socrates, "Know Thyself" ("Congnois toy ['toi'] toy-meme"), which prepares us for what might be the dry hole in our soul if we spend too much time in the pursuit of knowledge of the world.
One of the most interesting reads on this image can be found in Literature, Mapping, and the Politics of Space in Early Modern Britain, by Andrew Gordon, Bernhard Klein, where the authors discus the mind-as-a-map, and bring into play a great passage from the immortal great-book-that-is-semi-unreadable Anatomy of Melancholy, by Robert Burton. They refer to the great map set in the motley, order set against "the spirit of disorder" and "the enemy of boundaries", with Burton declaring on the essence of folly.
1935 was not a particularly good year for Austria. The country was fighting off the threat of Anschluss--the occupation of Austria by Nazi Germany--for several years, the cause hurt by the infamous assassination of the federal chancellor Englebert Dollfus in July 1934. When this pamphlet was printed in 1935, the threat to Austria from Germany was real and advanced. This publication, Luftschutz durch Selbstschutz ("Self Protection by Anti-Aircraft Defense" or so) addressed part of this issue. It sounds more militarily-based than it is; the story though is that the pamphlet was intended as a sort of civilian defense piece, for example, asking people to join an air defense club ("hinein in dem Luftschutverein") for the protection of all ("Schutz fuer jedermann") and to be general aware and prepared for the possibility of air raids.
What attracted me from the outset was the cover design which at first doesn't actually appear to be a map, though it is--and an effective one at that. In the middle of the circle is a red Austria with a white bar; on top of that, in yellow, is a bomb in a triangle; and surrounding Austria in a blue circle are the possible approaching/attacking/threatening air forces of its neighbors. Inside the pamphlet is another, more detailed map (below) showing the disposition of opposing air forces. It is interesting to note here that Germany is shown as having zero aircraft as dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, though it was in February of this year (1935) that the Luftwaffe was organized thus disbanding part of the treaty--at this point in 1935 the threat from Germany was not presently from the air.
The pamphlet runs 64 pages and contains information for Austrians in preparing for aerial assault, in general: what to do when the bombs fall, how to prepare, what sort of supplies are needed to survive a sustained attack, and the like--plus ads for gas masks, survival goods, and such.
In the end, Germany did not bomb Austria--it disappeared as part of the Reich in March 1938 as a result of intimidation, embargo, political subterfuge, and finally the threat of war.
Victor Levasseur (1800–1870) was a French cartographer who crippled and broke the modern line about not spending ink on a informational design that did not carry some sort of specific and necessary data. It seems that most of Levasseur's ink was decorative--but that's okay, I guess, because the effects today look quite handsome--and also it should be remembered that at the time the man was not exactly awash in detailed data. That said, he produced this beautiful little miniature map showing the comparative heights of mountains, though the detail is more-or-less generally lacking, and frankly I'm comfortable with that.
[Source: "Tableau Orographique" a miniature map by Victor Levasseur (1795-1862), published in his Atlas Classique Universel de Geographie ..., about 1835]
To read the title of the pamphlet The Radio Dealer's Handbook (1937) in a sales catalog would do little to excite any particular zeal, though to see its cover probably would spark an interest enough to at least browse the pamphlet. And browsing was a happy thing, as I found several infographics,including a terrific map of the U.S. showing the states in proportionate sizes according to radio ownership. Well, it shows the U.S. and Canada, which evidently sported as many radios as Massachusetts and exists on this map looking very much like a mini-U.S. It also seems as though radio ownership in the Dust Bowl regions was very restricted, the land area north of Oklahoma to the border is about as thin as a swizzle stick.
And a graphic representation of how well radios reproduce various sounds (that was to be used by radio salesmen in influencing their customers' selections):
And the very seldom seen layout of a radio shop:
And the cover of the pamphlet and source of these images:
I have posted many times to this blog over the last eight years on interesting examples of the graphical display of information (mostly in the category of "Information, Quantitative Display of") that included subjects like the comparative heights of mountains and lengths of rivers, ocean depths, divorce rates, fatalities from various diseases, literacy, the location of the population centers of the U.S., what 50,000 B-17s looked like if they were to fly at the same time, and so on. Most of these are 19th century vintage, though there are a fair number now from before WWII, though the more recent varieties show unusual bits like the amount of food consumed by an average family over the course of a year, the history of hemlines in dresses, the changes in the vital measurements of the White Rock girl, and the like.
The following map--depicting immigration origins and relative amounts and destinations--is somewhat unusual not only for the early date and manner in which the info is displayed, but also in the design--the data is not crowded out from the field of vision by anything but the broadest outlines of geography, almost all details are left off the map, which also uses two pale colors to set off the land and the sea, allowing the graphed colors to stand brilliantly apart.
[Map source--the Library of Congress, http://tile.loc.gov/image-services/iiif/service:gmd:gmd3:g3201:g3201e:ct000242/full/pct:25/0/default.jpg]
The map is the work of the early innovator and information-explorer Charles Minard, who is most known for his famously ubiquitous depiction of the death of Napoleon's army in its advance upon and retreat from Moscow (see https://robots.thoughtbot.com/analyzing-minards-visualization-of-napoleons-1812-march).
I've found another example of map/propaganda display of the-threat-against-Germany in the between-the-wars period, this one published in a very popular historical atlas by F.W. Putzger (Putzgers historischer Schul-atlas). The find comes in the fabulous "Persuasive Maps" collection of P.J. Mode (and housed and presented now at Cornell University, the source for the detail above and the originating image below) and supplements some earlier posts I've made to this blog on perceived and imaginary air and ground threats to Hitler's Germany. These images no doubt gave pause to their viewers, driving home at least the need for building up "defensive" military responses to the threats posed to Germany. In the top image the possible invaders of Germany are shown only in terms of airpower, depicting the range of the bombers and their country of origin, as well as the major cities that could be affected by such sorties. No doubt the intent was to riddle Germany with as many red lines as possible, creating a morass of invasion and destruction possibilities, so much so that you have to look with a little discernment to see the city names under the limit lines. It is a strong message, especially considering that in this case at least the audience was upper-level school children, and given that it appeared in an historical atlas the image was given that much more credibility and further entrenched a duck-and-cover mentality in its young viewers.
[Image source: P.J. Mode Colelction at Cornell University, https://digital.library.cornell.edu/?page=18&q=persuasive&search_field=all_fields&utf8=%E2%9C%93&view=gallery]
As I said this map is a good supplement to other similar efforts that have appeared in this blog. For example, in continuing the heavy-lines-obliterating-Germany design is this earlier (1933) map showing the range of the air force of Czechoslovakia:
I've found a number of interesting maps in the pamphlet collection here--these are highly unusual to my experience in that they were the work of a firm called "Geopress", which was an active business and cover for a significant intelligence agent for the Soviet Union, operating in Switzerland, collecting data relating to German activities during WWII. There's nothing I can add beyond the information that I quote extensively below from the CIA website on Rado--except that I cannot find images/examples of his Geopress work. So it seems the most efficient thing to do here is to simply quote the known sources and reproduce the images of the 18 maps and their accompanying texts.
As I said Rado operated Geopress as a news/cartographic service, and Rado was an accomplished cartographer, so the mans in and off themselves as maps are perhaps not a singular issue. Their evident scarcity, however, does seem to be an issue. Also I do not understand why these maps are so small, some of which are just 1"x 3"; also the uneven;y cut/torn text sheets that are made to accompany the maps are also puzzling in their own way. I do not understand the format--someone out there in Weblandia no doubt will.
All of the maps shown below are from 1942. They were received by the Library of Congress in June 1943 and stamped so on the backs of the maps. (They lived for some time in the "Pamphlet Collection" at the LC before being purchased by me in 1998.)
The following quotes come from the CIA website, the Center for the Study of Intelligence, here: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol12i3/html/v12i3a05p_0001.htm]
"Alexander (Sandor) Rado, Alexander Foote's chief in the Swiss-based "Rote Drei" net that in 1941-43 supplied Moscow with detailed information on German order of battle... His activity in intelligence, mapping, and related fields has lasted nearly 50 years and may earn him a place in the pantheon of major intelligence figures of the times."
"In 1936 or 1937, with Soviet funds and having a Swiss citizen as silent partner, Rado organized Geopress, a news agency specializing as Inpress had in maps and geographic background data. Geopress was more successful than Inpress because of better organization and the increased demand for news maps in the advancing shadows of World War II. As cover for an intelligence operation it proved ideal. Its normal activity—news collection and dissemination—provided justification for contacts with businessmen, officials, diplomats, journalists, and military leaders, some of whom became intelligence sources. It also justified a large volume of telephone and telegraph traffic, extensive postal business, and the maintenance of a courier system."
"While building up his Geopress cover Rado also developed his sources, organized communications, and summarized for transmission the reports collected by his growing network. And he even found time to maintain through publications his image as an internationally known geographer."
"24 Feb. 1945. During the German occupation of Hungary, (Rado) lived in Geneva where (he) published geographical maps for the Allied Governments until 1943; discovered by the GESTAPO and consequently his relatives in Hungary were murdered/ went with family to Paris in September 1944 and continued his work/summoned to Russia to report on his activities with the Free French Organization and left on 8 Jan. 1945 by special plane for Moscow/suspecting a trap, he got off the plane in Cairo where he remained/received no news from his wife in Paris and suspects that she might have been deported/he was formerly a Fellow of the Geographical Society in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Rome and Washington, D.C. OFFICE OF CENSORSHIP, Egypt, 11 April 1945."
[Again, the source for this and the above quotes: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/kent-csi/vol12i3/html/v12i3a05p_0001.htm]
The details of this chronological chart/map caught my eye--the genealogy trees look to me very out-of-place or -time, speaking in terms of design, and seem to have a definite mid-20th century feel to them:
They are found in the left section of Jakob Skeen' s 1887 Genealogical Chronological And Geographical Chart. Embracing Biblical And Profane History Of Ancient Times From Adam To Christ, which is part of my friend P.J. Mode's wonderful collection of what he refers to as "Persuasive Maps", now housed at Cornell University. I don't often see chronologies of this detail with embedded maps, which is another odd bit about this display of information; overall, it is unusual to my experience: