Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Stereology (1880)

Below the earliest known example of the word Stereology, with an earlier meaning than the currently accepted one from 1961: `the spatial interpretation of sections'. HERE.

From The essentials of Anatomy, designed as a text-book for students and as a book of easy reference for the practitioner (1880) by William darling and Ambrose Ranney (HERE).

Monday, 23 May 2016

A Very Rare Book

Here is a superb piece in the New Yorker on a complex tale of forgery and fraud in the field of antiquarian books such as Sidereus nuncius by Galileo.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Aston's Nobel Medal (1922)

Francis Aston (1877-1945) won the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1922, "for his discovery, by means of his mass spectrograph, of isotopes, in a large number of non-radioactive elements, and for his enunciation of the whole-number rule".   His Nobel medal is now up for sale

Below one of the illustrations from Aston's book Isotopes, published in 1922. 


Sharps and Flats: A Complete Revelation of the Secrets of Cheating at Games of Chance and Skill (1894)

John Nevil Maskelyne (1839-1917) was a famous English stage magician and unmasker of fraud - both in gambling and the so-called supernatural.

His book Sharps and Flats: A Complete Revelation of the Secrets of Cheating at Games of Chance and Skill was published in 1894. A scanned copy is HERE.

Another method whereby a single dot is made to represent both suit and value of card is illustrated in Figure 5. In every ornamental back almost, there is some portion of the pattern which is more or less of a fan-shaped or radial design. If this should happen to contain thirteen divisions, nothing is easier than to assign to each one a value, and thus the entire suit is represented by merely varying the position of the dot. The suit is given by placing the dot nearer or farther from the centre. Figure 5 is a diagram which illustrates this method in its simplest form. 

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Færoœ, et Fœroa reserata (1676)

Færoœ, et Fœroa reserata : that is a description of the islands & inhabitants of Foeroe : being seventeen islands subject to the King of Denmark, lying under 62 deg. 10 min. of north latitude. Wherein several secrets of nature are brought to light, and some antiquities hitherto kept in darkness discovered.

 From HERE.

Oiseaux brillans du Brésil (1834)

From Oiseaux brillans  et remarquables  du  Brésil  placés près des végétaux dont les fruits  les nourrissent by the French naturalist Jean-Théodore Descourtilz.

According to the annotations, only two copies of this book are known to exist. One is in the Natural History Museum Library (this copy), the other, which is without the handwritten text is in the Teyler Foundation at Haarlem. Full book HERE.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Perry Rathbone Student Drawings

 From an excellent exhibition on Note-Taking HERE.

J. Thoreau & Co's Best Quality LEAD PENCILS

From Henry Petroski's book, The Pencil (1989)

Henry David Thoreau seemed to think of everything when he made a list of essential supplies for a twelve-day excursion into the Maine woods. He included pins, needles, and thread among the items to be carried in an India-rubber knapsack, and he even gave the dimensions of an ample tent…. He wanted to be doubly sure to be able to start a fire and to wash up, and so he listed: “matches (some also in a small vial in the waist-coat pocket); soap, two pieces.” He specified the number of old newspapers (three or four, presumably to be used for cleaning chores), ….
… he advised like-minded observers to carry a small spyglass … a pocket microscope … tape measure … and paper and stamps, to mail letters back to civilization.
But there is one object that Thoreau neglected to mention, one that he most certainly carried himself. For without this object Thoreau could not have sketched … fauna…. Without it he could not label his blotting paper … or his insect boxes … record measurements … write home … make his list. Without a pencil Thoreau would have been lost in the Maine woods.
According to his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau seems always to have carried, “in his pocket, his diary and pencil.” So why did Thoreau … neglect to list even one among the essential things to take on an excursion? Perhaps the very object with which he may have been drafting this list was too close to him, too familiar a part of his own everyday outfit, too integral a part of his livelihood, too common a thing for him to think to mention.

Image from HERE.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Observations sur les antiquites de la ville d'Herculanum (1754)

The first detailed observations and drawings of Herculanum by the French architect Jerome Charles Bellicard (1726-1786) are HERE

 The Met Museum in New York has his travel notebook that shows that this sketch of his was a direct observational record.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Cypress Point, Monterey c. 1875

From HERE.

The Stereoscope and Stereoscopic Photography (1890)

In 1859 Oliver Wendell Holmes published an article in the Atlantic magazine on the Stereoscope and the Stereograph. He had this to say of this technology:
 Form is henceforth divorced from matter. In fact, matter as a visible object is of no great use any longer, except as the mould on which form is shaped. Give us a few negatives of a thing worth seeing, taken from different points of view, and that is all we want of it. Pull it down or burn it up, if you please. We must, perhaps, sacrifice some luxury in the loss of color; but form and light and shade are the great things, and even color can be added, and perhaps by and by may be got direct from Nature.

There is only one Coliseum or Pantheon; but how many millions of potential negatives have they shed,—representatives of billions of pictures,—since they were erected! Matter in large masses must always be fixed and dear; form is cheap and transportable. We have got the fruit of creation now, and need not trouble ourselves with the core. Every conceivable object of Nature and Art will soon scale off its surface for us. Men will hunt all curious, beautiful, grand objects, as they hunt the cattle in South America, for their skins, and leave the carcasses as of little worth.
Image from The Stereoscope and Stereoscopic Photography by Felix Drouin (HERE).

The Science of Vision (1840)

From The science of vision; or, Natural perspective ... constituting the basis of the art of design, with ... the new optical laws of the camera obscura, or daguerrèotype, also the physiology of the human eye .. By Arthur Parsey. (HERE)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Color Notes (1903)

From HERE. Color problems; a practical manual for the lay student of color. by Emily Noyes Vanderpoel. 

The Path to the Moon (1898)

From A Book of Images by W.T. Horton with an introduction by W.B. Yeats 

The Path to the Moon

The full book is available HERE.
More on Horton and his work HERE.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Calligraphy at Reed College, Portland, Oregon.

From an archive of material by and about Lloyd Reynolds of Reed College, Portland, Oregon HERE.

More HERE.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Essai d'Anatomie (1745)

Essai d'Anatomie by Jacques Fabien Gautier d'Agoty (1717-1785).

From HERE. From the blurb at Internet Archive. 
The Essai d'Anatomie was produced by Gautier D'Agoty in 1745 in Paris, France. It is a remarkably detailed atlas of the head, neck, and shoulder areas of the human body with explanatory text in French. The anatomical images were based on human cadavers dissected by Joseph Duverney and produced using the mezzotint method of engraving and printing. These remarkable anatomical images from the 18th century provide a fascinating look into both the artistic and scientific climate of the period. The original copy of the "Essai d'Anatomie" held by the Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences at Tulane University was restored, bound, and digitized by William Kitchens. The restoration work was completed on May 6, 2008. 
More on the Author HERE.

Notebooks of Andrew Croswell (1778-1858)

From Beehive, the blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society:

Andrew Croswell (1778-1858) was a student at Harvard University in the late 1790s. He later studied medicine in Plymouth, MA, and practiced there and in Fayette and Mercer, ME. In the collections here we hold two notebooks that were kept by Croswell. The first is a mathematical notebook which contains definitions and problems in geometry, trigonometry, and surveying. The second is a physician's notebook that contains notes on the treatment of diseases and injuries, as well as the use of some medicines. 

More pages at the blog post, two shown below.

 Image Copyright MHS

Friday, 6 May 2016

Chinese porcelain (1908)

From HERE. An illustrated volume on Chinese porcelain by Yuanbian Xiang, originally published in 1575.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

英吉利国倫敦図 - Illustration of London in England (Igirisukoku rondon zu) 1866

英吉利国倫敦図 - Illustration of London in England (Igirisukoku rondon zu) 1866 by Utagawa Yoshitora
Image from the Met Museum HERE

More on this image from HERE.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Who Looks East at Sunset?

 From James Elkins' book How to Use Your Eyes is this record of a sunset - looking both West and East.

Gerard Manley Hopkins: “If a very clear, unclouded sun is gazed at, it often appears not convex, but hollow; – swimming, like looking down into a boiling pot or swinging pail, or into a bowl of quicksilver shaken: and of a lustrous but indistinct hue.”  From HERE

More on Hopkins, Sunsets and Krakatoa HERE.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Sylised Pine-Tree (1910)


Quantification: A History of the Meaning of Measurement in the Natural and Social Sciences (1961)

Quantification: A History of the Meaning of Measurement in the Natural and Social Sciences.
Edited by Harry Woolf.

Some Aspects of Quantification in Science. By S. S. Wilks

The subject of quantification in science is an enormous one with many aspects. The foundation of quantification is measurement, and any discussion of the nature of quantification must necessarily begin with a discussion of the nature of measurement. In this paper I shall not try to do more than to direct your attention to some of the basic concepts and requirements involved in measurement and quantification as we see them today, without attempting to trace the origin and development of these concepts historically.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The boke of measuryng of landeas well of woodland as plowland, & pasture in the feelde: & to compt the true nombre of acres of the same. Newly corrected, & compiled by Sir Richarde de Benese. (1537)

From an Early English treatise on land surveying: The boke of measuryng of landeas well of woodland as plowland, & pasture in the feelde: & to compt the true nombre of acres of the same. Newly corrected, & compiled by Sir Richarde de Benese. 

 Image from HERE

For more on area and map measurement see HERE.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

More on Nomograms

More HERE on the lost art of Nomograms. Below - from the Pynomo website - a Python program for creating PDF nomograms. The body surface area (BSA) of the human body.

Nomographie, Les Calculs Usuels Effectues au Moyen Des Abaques (1891)

Before 1891, no book had been published on the technique of geometric computation. In 1891, Maurice d'Ocagne published  Nomographie, Les Calculs Usuels Effectues au Moyen Des Abaques. More on d'Ocagne HERE.

Below is Plate I from the book - a relatively simple nomogram that relates the weight of water vapour that air can hold at different temperatures. 

 The image is form a digitised copy of the book HERE.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Classification of Pictures (work in progress)

This is work in progress. The figure is based on Figure 3 Classification of Pictures from HERE.
The new elements are added in blue text.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Counting Eye

Here are a few pages from the latest chapter I am writing for Intense Seeing called The Counting Eye.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Yellowstone National Park

From the amazing collection of Pictorial Maps at the David Rumsey Map collection HERE.

Looking from the north across Yellowstone National Park toward Grand Teton in the south, panoramist Heinrich Berann depicts scenic park features and the 28- by 48- mile caldera, or basin, created by a massive volcanic eruption 600,000 years ago.


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Ancient Mexican Wooden shield with Turquois Mosaic.

Image from Turquois Mosaic art in ancient Mexico by Marshall H. Saville (1922). Full volume HERE.

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Art of Conjuring Made Easy; an entertaining selection of diverting tricks, deceptions, & experiments in sleight of hand and legerdemain

Old and Rare Scottish Tartans (1893)

A selection of examples from Old and Rare Scottish Tartans  by Donald William Stewart (volume HERE).

Rowallan Castle Ayrshire (1887)

A water colour of Rowallan Castle, Ayrshire, painted in 1887 by the Scottish architect Alexander Nisbet Paterson (1862-1947). More on Paterson's career HERE. The image is from HERE.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Dundrum Bay (1900)

Dundrum Bay By Edward Montgomery O'Rorke Dickey (1894-1977) from HERE.


A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America. Lionel Wafer (1699)

Lionel Wafer (1640-1705) was a Welsh surgeon, explorer and sailor.

In 1680 he began an adventure that he latterly published in this volume.

From Wikipedia:

A ship's surgeon, Wafer made several voyages to the South Seas and visited Maritime Southeast Asia in 1676. The following year he settled in Jamaica to practise his profession. In 1679 two noted buccaneers named Capt John Cook and Linen convinced him to become a surgeon for their fleet.

In 1680, Wafer met William Dampier at Cartagena and joined in a privateering venture under the leadership of Capt Bartholomew Sharp.

After a quarrel during the overland journey, Wafer was marooned with four others in the Isthmus of Darien in Panama, where he stayed with the Cuna Indians. He gathered information about their culture, including their shamanism and a short vocabulary of their language. He studied the natural history of the isthmus. The following year, Wafer left the Indians promising to return and marry the chief's sister and bring back dogs from England. He fooled the buccaneers at first as he was dressed as an Indian, wearing body-paint and ornamented with a nose-ring. It took them some time to recognise him.

Wafer reunited with Dampier, and after privateering with him on the Spanish Main until 1688, he settled in Philadelphia.

By 1690 Wafer was back in England and in 1695 he published A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America, which described his adventures. It was translated into French (1706), German (1759), and Swedish (1789).

Wafer includes a beautiful engraved map in the book, shown below. The scale bars are marked in Italian Miles.  

One of the interesting aspects of the book is Wafer's description of the Cardinal numbers and counting system used by the indigenous Cuna peoples of the Isthmus. Wafer observes that their counting system is similar in style to the Gaelic used in Ireland and the highlands of Scotland.

The French translation of Wafer's travelogue is also available HERE, which includes the map below.


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering by Sanjoy Mahajan (2014)

The latest from Sanjoy Mahajan. Free to download HERE.


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Church of St Mary and St David, Kilpeck (1140)

From the Memorials of old Herefordshire by Compton Reade. The carvings around the South door of Kilpeck Church.


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Artistic Anatomy of Animals (1905)

Quain's Elements of Anatomy (1876)

A diagram of a transverse oblique section of the pelvis and hip-joint, cutting the first sacral vertebra and the symphysis pubis in their middle, from a male subject of about nineteen years of age. From HERE.

Note the distinctive trabecula structure of the interior of the head of the femur.

A Course of Practical Histology (1877)

A Course of Practical Histology (1877), by the father of English physiology Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer FRS (1850-1935). 


A Story Sharp as a Knife

A description and drawing of a cedarwood Haida totem pole, with an interpretation of the symbolism by the anthropologist John Swanton.  It was the patient and dedicated work of Swanton with Haida storytellers that has allowed Robert Bringhurst to create his trilogy on Haida myth: A Story as Sharp as a Knife : The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World  (review HERE).  This artefact is now in McCord Museum.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Yenshu Ryu Ikebana hiak bin no zu (1897)

Images from a volume on flower arrangement in the Enshu style.

A statement of the condition and circumstances of the Cathedral Church of Hereford (1842)


Certain old Chinese notes or Chinese paper money (1915)

From HERE.

Detail Pictures of Japanese Money (1879)

HERE is an incredible volume of images of Japanese Money from 1879.

Studies in the decorative art of Japan (1910)

 HERE by Sir Francis Taylor Piggott (1852-1925)


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