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Archive for the ‘Map History’ Category

When I compiled a previous post entitled “A Discourse on Map Pins and Pinnage,” largely based on Willard C. Brinton’s Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts (1914) I rather forgot that Brinton had another tome, published in 1939, entitled Graphic Presentation.

Among the pages of this latter book can be found a few items worthy of note: J. Edgar Hoover pinning a map of FBI personnel (above), and another image of a map being pinned in the wild (most popular automobile colors, by U.S. state, 1939):

Also, a fine selection of map pins, updated for the demands of map pinners in 1939:

A few other stray map pin items have also come to my attention.

An advertisement in The American City (11, 1914) suggesting pinned maps EVERY city should construct:

Or one from System: The Magazine of Business (33, 1918):

Or a bit of advice on using pinned “progress maps” in oil field work (Underground Conditions in Oil Fields, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1920):

In Select Notes: A Commentary on the International Lessons for 1893 the Rev. Peloubet recalls the use of map pins for Bible study in the novel Tom Brown at Oxford:

Run out of map pins? Your local dealer is all out due to war-time demands? Popular Mechanics (March 1945) has instructions for DIY map pins:

Enough on map pins already.

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Cartogram, 1930: “A Distorted Map of the United States Showing Population of Each State and of Cities of 50,000 or More in 1930″ (Printers’ Ink Publishing Co., Inc., Chart by Walter P. Burns and Associates, Inc., New York City)

A cartogram scales geographic areas to some value other than geographic area. In two previous blog posts, 1911 Cartogram: “Apportionment Map” and 1923 Patented Cartogram, a few old-school cartograms were resurrected from musty old publications. Here find eight more cartograms published between 1921 and 1938.

This post opens with a peculiar item – the U.S. states as well as the areas of major cities are scaled to population, in essence two cartograms together. Symbols representing “people living on farms” are scattered about, each symbol equal to a number (undisclosed) of persons. Weird.

From the Literary Digest in 1921:

Cartogram, 1921: “Relative Size of Each of the United States if Based on Electrical Energy Sold for Light and Power in 1921″ (Literary Digest, April 23, 1921)

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Cartogram, 1931: “The United States With the Area of the States Proportional to the Urban Population of 1930″ (The Dartnell Corp., Chicago, Ill., 1931)

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Cartogram, 1933: “Horsepower Map of the United States in 1933 With the Area of Each State Drawn Proportional to the Amount of Horsepower Installed in the State” (Power Plant Engineering, New York City, 1933)

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I had an old slide of the following cartogram but did not know its source: turns out it is from an advertisement for The Mutual Broadcasting Network, showing that 80% of business in the U.S. is transacted in states east of the Mississippi – MBN’s broadcasting area:

Cartogram, date unknown (1930s): “Look to Your Sales Mileage” advertisement (The Mutual Broadcasting System).

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A very diagram-ish cartogram which places an un-cartogrammed map of the US in the background:

Cartogram, 1937: “The United States With the Areas of the States Proportional to Their Manufacturing Output in 1935″ (Business Week, June 12, 1937, New York City)

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Cartogram, 1938: “How Each State Shared in PWA Allotments for Non-Federal Power Projects as of July 1, 1937″ (Public Utilities Fortnightly, February 3, 1938, Washington DC)

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Reproduced from Willard C. Brinton’s Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts (1914).

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From a slouching, unkempt, uncouth, shambling, horrid boy, he emerged into being a respectable, neat, tidy, order-loving, painstaking, and industrious young man.

– Miss Winthrop, 1888

I had an ugly, unruly boy in my room, and be gave me more trouble than all the rest of the class. When I inherited him I felt as if Nemesis had overtaken me, and just how to control him and secure any kind of work from him was a problem I long wrestled with.
For several weeks he was the terror of the room, and my reputation for good order and dignity was, I felt, fast disappearing. The boy would not obey unless he felt like it, and punishments had no effect on him. Every plan I evolved for the regeneration of the boy proved abortive. He wouldn’t reform. Finally, by accident, I stumbled on the cure.
I discovered that he was interested in his drawing, or rather was interested in sketching odd bits of scenery, or objects in the room, not even omitting his respected teacher, who was a typical schoolmarm and wore glasses. I resolved to make the most of this one talent – if talent it was – and so one day, when I was in my best and sweetest mood, I asked the terror if he would not draw a plan for some shelves I wanted put up in my closet. He assented, and the sketch was neatly and accurately made. There was a new look in his eyes and a new expression on his face when he gave me the paper on which his drawings were made.
Then I advanced slowly and cautiously. I needed some maps made, following a new invention of mine in cartography, and again I employed the terror, and again the result was encouraging. The maps were models of neatness and precision. I judiciously praised him, and exhibited the maps to the class.
We were studying the continent of Asia, and the terror never had his geography lesson learned; but when I suggested that if he were to keep up his reputation in drawing he must draw the details of the county he was sketching, geography became a new study to him, and he easily wade excellent progress in this branch.
The terror came out of his chrysalis state a new creature. His old ways were left, and he readily adopted the better method of doing and living. From a slouching, unkempt, uncouth, shambling, horrid boy, he emerged into being a respectable, neat, tidy, order-loving, painstaking, and industrious young man.
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Text:
  • Miss Winthrop, “A Crooked Stick Straightened,”  American Teacher, 1888 (reprinted in Scientific American, November 26, 1887, Vol. LVII., No. 22., pg. 346)
Illustrations:
  • Sighting Along the Ruler: The Youth’s Companion, August 8, 1918
  • Map of Two Brooks Farm: The Youth’s Companion, Aug 12, 1915
  • Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Asia: Lenore Congdon Schutze, Schutze’s Amusing Geography and System of Map Drawing (San Francisco, 1900)

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Pin maps have not much been much used in the past, chiefly because a map pin which would give satisfactory service has not been available for common use. Until recently the map markers obtainable have been little more than old-fashioned carpet tacks having chisel-shaped points which cut the surface of any map into which they were pushed. Tacks with rough steel shanks cannot be pushed far into a map if the tacks are to be pulled out again. Also, rough steel is likely to rust so as to cause the whole tack to deteriorate rapidly.

Thus begins a discourse on the map pin – and its brethren map beads, flags, and buttons – by Willard C. Brinton in his Graphic Methods for Presenting Facts (1919). In chapter 12 of that formidable volume, “Maps and Pins,” (2.5mb pdf) we are treated to 27 pages of considered commentary on the map pin: undoubtedly everything that could be said about map pins at the time. May I suggest cartopinography as the appropriate nomenclature for this deliciously narrow subset of the cartographic arts? Yes I may.

The shameful failings of mere tacks as map pins are amply demonstrated in the Brinton screed:

An alternative universe of map pins, beads, flags, and buttons are offered up, and, of course, delightfully illustrated: I repeat the opening image followed by an annotated list of map pin descriptors:

1. Long pin with small size glass head, available in many colors.
2. Long pin of brass wire for use with beads as shown in No.9.
3. Long pin with glass head used in conjunction with a piece of sheet celluloid cut into the shape of a flag.
4. A celluloid flag, with beads above the flag to represent quantity, or beads in different colors to denote various characteristics for the data portrayed. The grip of the sheet celluloid on the pin is sufficient to hold both the beads and the flag at the upper part of the pin.
5. Long pin with large size glass head, obtainable in different colors.
6. Pin like that shown in No.5 used with beads strung upon it.
7. A brass tack large enough to receive gummed labels which may be written upon with a pen.
8. Map pins having sharp points and small spherical glass heads in contact with the map. These pins are available in many different colors; the upper one in No. 8 is red and the lower one blue.
9. Beads in various colors of a size to correspond with the map pins in No. 8. Here the beads were red. White beads, used for every tenth position, show at a glance that there are 22 beads on the pin. Note that the color red photographs as black.
10. Map pins having sharp needle points and spherical glass heads in contact with the map. The pin is of the same general style as No. 8 but it has a head of larger diameter. This pin is obtainable in many colors.
11. Cloth-covered map tacks available in plain colors and in plaids.
12. Single bead used with an ordinary pin as a crude substitute for a regular map pin.
13. Beads in different colors corresponding in size with the map pin of No. 10.
14. Beads of two different sizes representing different things but at the same location.
15. Beads of two different sizes and three different colors. Since both sizes and colors may be varied, and almost any number of beads used on one pin, there are practically unlimited possibilities for the showing of complex data.
16. Beads on a pin which holds down on the map a sheet of colored celluloid cut to the exact shape of a small land area to which attention is directed.
17. A sheet-celluloid marker held by a map pin like that seen in No. 8.
18. Celluloid-covered tack, available in different colors.
19. Celluloid-covered tack with stripes of different colors.
20. Celluloid-covered tack with printed numbers from 1 to 99 inclusive.
21. Celluloid-covered tack having a rough surface so made that the surface may be written upon with pencil or pen, yet erased afterwards or rubbed off with a moist cloth. Lettering may be made permanent by means of a coat of varnish.
22. Large size celluloid-covered tack available in different colors.
23. Large size celluloid-covered tack with stripes of different colors.
24. Very large size celluloid-covered tack.

Included in the study are sundry illustrations of map pinnage at the zenith of development.

Below find a pin map showing the source of letters appealing for funds from Mary Harriman, the wife of railroad magnate E.H. Harriman. Mrs. Harriman’s fortune was somewhat reduced by the sheer number of map pins acquired for this exercise in cartopinography. Note the excessive pinning of New York City. So many pins are attempting to share the same geography that the map required an additional pin island (floating off the coast of New York city):

Harvard University, that hotbed of map pin innovation, confronted head-on the “too many pins in one place” problem that plagued the Harriman pin map. Why not, they suggested, create stacks of beads? Why not indeed!

The results, illustrated below, show the residence of 1907 Harvard graduates, six years after graduation. The map beads are stacked on a wire, every 10th bead is white. Why turn to a simple table when you could count beads on wires stuck in a map?

Further pin map considerations must be taken when attempting these protruding pin maps: such a bead map “should be mounted on several layers of corrugated straw-board to allow the long pins to sufficient depth in the mounting to hold fast.” One does not want teetering map pin beads!

The Harvard map sports six layers of straw-board, and a total thickness of 1 and 1/4 inches. Not only does such a sure base support the extensive beadage in the Boston area, but it is also “extremely light and very convenient to handle.”

Yes, I know what you are thinking: what kind of wire would one use for such a map? Would you believe piano wire? But some work is needed to transform piano wire into map bead wire. Brinton details the process: “The piano wire should be heated in a gas flame so as to remove some of the spring temper. After the wire has been heated it can be straightened and it will remain straight without continually springing back into coil form.” Once the heating and straightening has taken place, Brinton suggests a light coating of varnish to stabilize the wire used in longer columns, such as those for Boston and New York City on the map.

I suspect the Harvard map might suffer a bit of map bead flaccidity if hung upon a wall, given gravity and all. I also wonder about the hazards of such lengthy map beadings: a farsighted passer-by might, for example, receive a nasty map bead wire puncture-wound upon viewing the map too closely. No such injuries were reported in Brinton’s tome, however.

In our modern age of fancy maps-on-the-web the tangible map pin is certainly in decline. Yet a quick search leads to several suppliers of map pins, flags, and similar items, such as the Hudson Map company and The Map Shop.

Yet it is the ubiquitous Google Map that has saved the map pin from obscurity. Google’s default map pin marker can certainly be replaced by any kind of marker you want (see Custom Map Symbols in Google Maps) but who wants to futz around with that?

The Google Map map pin has taken its place as a literal pop-culture icon. Indeed, Google’s digital map pin has leaked back into earthly reality. Below find the work of map pin artist Adam Bartholl:

The map pin is dead! Long live the map pin!

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Denis Wood’s followup to his classic The Power of Maps (1992) is almost entirely new in content.  I have included the book’s table of contents below. A PDF copy of chapter 1 is included. This chapter argues, provocatively, “there were no maps before 1500″ – a serious challenge to our assumptions about the map as a human and historical universal.

I. Mapping

1. Maps Blossom in the Springtime of the State (PDF)

2. Unleashing the Power of the Map

3. Signs in the Service of the State

4. Making Signs Talk to Each Other

II. Counter-Mapping

5. Counter-Mapping and the Death of Cartography

6. Talking Back to the Map

7. Map Art: Stripping the Mask from the Map

8. Mapmaking, Counter-Mapping, and Map Art in the Mapping of Palestine

Buy a copy of the book here…

From the publisher: “Denis Wood shows how maps are not impartial reference objects, but rather instruments of communication, persuasion, and power. By connecting us to a reality that could not exist in the absence of maps – a world of property lines and voting rights, taxation districts and enterprise zones – they embody and project the interests of their creators.”

Nicholas Chrisman, Department of Geomatic Sciences, Université Laval, says: “Rethinking the Power of Maps sharpens the argument of Wood’s earlier work and focuses its attention on the construction of power. Every student of cartography should take notice.”
Chris Perkins of the University of Manchester says: “In an age when mapping is sexy again Wood explains why it should matter to everyone, explores how maps came to be deployed by states, and how the authority of the image is now being used by many different voices. This is a carefully developed humanist argument for a critical approach to mapping, strongly academic, but reassuringly accessible. Denis Wood’s work always challenges – the passionate style and panache of his scholarship carries the reader along and persuades us to listen to his original ideas.”

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pop_proj_alone_150

Stop making cartograms! At least until permission is granted from the chap who holds the patent on them.

Karl Karsten’s “population projection” was published in his book Charts and Graphs (1923) and patented in 1925. As with the 1911 “Apportioinment Map” noted in an earlier post, the term “cartogram” was not used by Karsten to describe this creation.  He called it the “Population Projection.”

Curiously, it’s claimed that Karsten also invented the hedge fund.

But back to maps.

Karsten’s patent, (#1,556, 609, October 13, 1925) claimed rights to

…a map of a plurality of territories, having their boundary lines so distorted as to make their included areas represent graphically the relative importance of a given factor other than land area of one area with respect to another area, the boundaries being distorted without losing their familiar and significant features…

Karsten suggests using his “population projection” as a base upon which to map other data, such as truancy rates (below).  Thus it’s a bivariate cartogram (reproduced from p. 667 in Charts and Graphs):

truancy_popproj_150

The idea is good, but in practice it’s a bit wonky.  Several western US states are reduced to toothpick dimensions, and note the New York goiter (New York City). Also, Karsten seems to have some degree of difficulty maintaining the horizontal with the map and the legend. Could he have had an inner-ear infection?

But back to maps.

The illustration in Karsten’s patent reveals his methodology:

pop_proj_patentmap

Details of the methodology can be found in the text of the patent.

Karsten, in Charts and Graphs, explains the justification for using the “population projection” which is, more or less, the same line of argument used in current discussions of cartograms:

We do not sell our goods to the mountains, bill them to the rivers, or credit the forests with payment. Probably from at least a subconscious appreciation of this circumstance, many national distributors, advertisers, and sales-managers have discarded maps on which the rivers, forests or mountains are shown when they are studying the geographic distribution of their sales. The up-to-date sales manager lots his distributing points and records his sales in a great many ways upon maps which carry only faint State outlines or a the most show the location of larger cities. But why stop here? Your sales manager does not sell to square miles, acres, or other units of land-area measurement. He sells to human beings. Why should he use maps which show, not human beings, but square miles, that is, maps in which the areas indicate not the population but the land surface? Why indeed!

The result of this projection of the map of the United Statues upon a population basis rather than a land-area basis will be most surprising even to the most hardened travelers.

Needless to say, the picture of sales conditions which such a map exhibits, will be far more valuable and useful than the picture upon the usual land-area basis. In short, the corrected areas of the States serve to give an excellent background or evaluation of the importance of the statistics plotted upon the map.

The number of ways in which the map can be altered and projected for special purposes upon special bases is unlimited, but all are alike in one respect – that their areas no longer show physical land areas in square miles but show the actual values more important for the special purposes in view.

In 2005 a series of cartogram patents (here here here) failed to cite Karsten’s patent.

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fat-tailed-map

from “Fat Tailed Sheep on Maps of Africa”
The Map Collector, 1 June 1979

Collectors are a peculiar lot.  They can frustrate somber scholars with their unconventional research methods and seeming interest in objects rather than context.  Yet the passion and obsessiveness of collectors often produces an endless source of interesting materials.

The Map Collector (1977-1996) was a magazine devoted to maps as collectible objects.  Within its pages could be found some rather interesting articles on all sorts of maps and cartographic ephemera.

Where else would one find an article about fat-tailed sheep illustrated on old maps of Africa?

fattai01

Yes they are real (source and here)

Kunstpedia, a “knowledge base on fine and decorative arts, popularly stated arts and antiques, with the exception of contemporary art” has acquired permission to publish Map Collector articles, full text with images, on their web pages.

Articles, which continue to be added to the site, include:

Hotchkiss

“One of America’s Foremost Cartographers: Jed Hotchkiss”
by Peter Roper

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cigarette

“Maps on Cigarette Cards”
by Martin Murray

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“Pocket Maps for Travellers”
by Katherine R. Goodwin

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“Maps that made Cabmen Honest”
by Ralph Hyde

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“The Indigenous Maps and Mapping of North American Indians”
by G. Malcolm Lewis

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“The Great Lakes of Africa”
by R.V. Tooley

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“History of Watermarks”
by Bob Akers

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“Old Korean Hand Atlases”
by Shannon McCune

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Also of interest:

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