The oldest known seismoscope is Chinese and dates backs from 132.
This is a chronological list of physical visualizations and related artifacts, maintained by Pierre Dragicevic and Yvonne Jansen. For instance, the tokens could be ordered in special columns according to types of merchandise, entries and expenditures; donors […] Quipus were complex assemblies of knotted ropes that were used in South America as a data storage device and played an important role in the Inca administration.
Thanks to Fanny Chevalier and our other contributors. Only a handful of specialists could use and decipher them.
Feel free to post a general comment or if you know of another interesting physical visualization, please submit it! Their meaning mostly remains a mystery but it seems that color, relative position of knots, knot types and rope length were used to encode categorical and quantitative variables.
While data sculptures date back from the 1990s, the very first sculptures were Venus figurines: A Venus figurine is any Upper Paleolithic statuette portraying a woman with exaggerated physical features. […] An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system. The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analog computer designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses.
According to an eminent archaeologist (Schmandt-Besserat, 1999): "Whereas words consist of immaterial sounds, the tokens were concrete, solid, tangible artifacts, which could be handled, arranged and rearranged at will.
Left image from ancient-origins.net, right images from Mari Shiranui's flickr […] The earliest data visualizations were likely physical: built by arranging stones or pebbles, and later, clay tokens.
The left image shows the Antikythera, the oldest known orrery. It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck, a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera.
The instrument was designed […] A seismoscope is a qualitative indicator of seismic activity — as opposed to seismographs which show quantitative data, typically through line graphs.
“Il y a […] A Galileo thermometer consists of a set of floaters immersed in a clear liquid (typically ethanol) inside a sealed glass tube.