1850-1899: Golden Age of data graphics
By the mid-1800s, all the conditions for the rapid growth of visualization had been established. Official state statistical offices were established thoughout Europe, in recognition of the growing importance of numerical information for social planning, industrialization, commerce, and transportation. Statistical theory, initiated by Gauss and Laplace, and extended to the social realm by Guerry (Guerry:1833) and Quetelet (Quetelet:1831), provided the means to make sense of large bodies of data.
What started as the "Age of Enthusiasm" (Palsky:1996) in graphics and thematic cartography, may also be called the "Golden Age", with unparalleled beauty and many innovations.
Helmholtz apparently used a simplified version of a recording device named Kymograph (originally invented by Carl Ludwig), to obtain graphical representation of muscle action after stimulation. "These graphs proved that 'the energy of the muscle does not fully develop at the moment of an instantaneous stimulus, but only gradually increases, most often only after the stimulus has ceased, reaches a maximum, and again disappears" (Holmes and Olesko, 1995)
References:Helmholtz:1850 Helmholtz:1852 HolmesOlesko:1995
Florence Nightingale is often credited with the invention of this form of a polar area chart, however it is likely that she got the idea from William Farr. The earliest known use of this graphic form is by Andre-Michel Guerry in 1829. See the link above.
Mendeleev arranged all of the 63 elements, then known by their atomic weights, into groups possessing similar properties. Where a gap existed in the table, he predicted a new element would one day be found and deduced its properties. Three of those elements were found during his lifetime
Loua used this as a graphic summary of 40 maps of Paris, each showing some feature of the population by arrondisement. This device was later used by Bertin who also considered ways of reordering the rows and columns (the "reorderable matrix'') to make the pattern of high/low values more apparent.
In 1875, Galton was interested in the inheritance of size in sweet-pea seeds, but appears to have tried with smaller seeds first, apparently that of cress. The isograms are represented by ink lines on the sheet of glass covering the little compartments which contain the ranked seeds of the daughter-plants.
Lallemand was director of the "Service de nivellement de la France,'' designed to establish the heights of locations, water levels and tides throughout France, taking geodetic measurement to the third dimension. He also served as Inspector General of Mines.
Diagrams with parallel axes had been used before, notably in the 1870 Statistical Atlas of the United States by Francis Walker. For example, Plate 97 shows mortality of different racial and national groups according to age and disease categories.
References:Hankins:1999 Ocagne:1885 Ocagne:1899
Charles Booth's work is a classic in several fields of social science, including sociology, urban studies, public administration, policy research, social surveys, demography and geography