A Treasure Trove of Awkward Early-20th-Century Infographics

A Treasure Trove of Awkward Early-20th-Century Infographics

A Treasure Trove of Awkward Early-20th-Century Infographics

The Vault
Historical Treasures, Oddities, And Delights
Feb. 17 2016 3:08 PM

A Treasure Trove of Awkward Early-20th-Century Infographics

This group of infographics comes from the Scientific American Reference Book of 1913, compiled by Albert A. Hopkins and A. Russell Bond, which is available to read on the Internet Archive. They're a delightful snapshot of the concerns of readers of the magazine a hundred years ago, as well as an interesting tour through infographic design strategies au courant at the time. 

"The Editorial staff of the Scientific American receive annually about 15,000 inquiries covering a wide range of topics," explained Hopkins in a preface. While the magazine had earlier published a Scientific American Cyclopedia of Receipts, Notes, and Queries (which did well, selling 25,000 copies), the book didn't quite fill the needs of every reader; letter-writers wanted general information about the world, not just scientific formulas.

They wanted information about the Antarctic region, the Panama route, shipping, navies, armies, railroads, population, education, patents, submarine cables, wireless telegraphy, manufactures, agriculture, mining, mechanical movements, astronomy, and the weather.
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First and second editions of this book were published in 1904 and 1905. (The 1905 edition is also available on the Internet Archive.) 

WaterInFruits
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

DivorceCauses
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

DustyTrades
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

Leverage
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

FourthOfJuly
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

CommonSchools
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

WheatCrop
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

FarmAnimals
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

Eggs
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

Energy
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

OfficeBldg
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive

Books
Scientific American Reference Book, 1913.

Internet Archive