List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts

1753 – Barbeu-Dubourg's Machine Chronologique


Before Joseph Priestley published his famous timelines, Frenchman Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg built a 16-meter long timeline showing 140 years of world history, which can be mechanically scrolled and folded for transport. Not a physical visualization but maybe the first “interactive” timeline representation in history. Seen in a talk by Catherine Plaisant.


  1. Stephen Boyd Davis (2009) The First Modern Timeline?
  2. Stephen Ferguson (1991) The 1753 Carte Chronographique by Jacques Barbeu Du Bourg.
  3. Photos from Rare Book Division, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Other  Tags: mechanical interaction, temporal data, timeline