The earliest cartograms -- maps whose boundaries are distorted to reflect a set of data other than area -- began appearing in the late 19th century. This cartogram by General Electric is the earliest example -- OK, the only example -- I've found in the Minneapolis Tribune archives:
No, Dear Reader, This Is Not a Cubist Map!
It Shows Where Electricity Is Used in the U.S.
This odd map of the United States may seem at first glance to be a cubist artist’s conception of the familiar geographical outlines of our country, but it has a strictly utilitarian purpose. It is known as the map of the “electrical United States” and pictures graphically the number of household users of electricity in each state.
A glance at this map will also show which state boasts the largest number of household electrical consumers and how other states compare in number of users. How each state ranks may be judged by its size as shown on the map, which was prepared by the General Electric company, Schenectady, N.Y., from data compiled through a national survey made by the commercial service section of its publication bureau.
New York ranks first, having an electrical population (served by central stations) of 8,620,700, or 78.7 per cent of its actual population. The second largest state is Pennsylvania, with an electrical population of 6,330,000, or 68.8 per cent of the actual population; third, Illinois, with 5,150,000, or 79.8 per cent; fourth, Massachusetts, with 4,030,000 or 97,8 per cent; fifth, Ohio, with 3,550,000, or 66.1 per cent, and sixth, California, with 2,827,000, or 86.5 per cent.
At the bottom of the list is Nevada, squeezed into a tiny circumference on the map, because it has only 66,300 persons served by central power stations, which, however, is 54.3 per cent of its actual population.
The most nearly electrified state is the District of Columbia, where 430,000 out of a population of 437,000 are served by electricity. This is a percentage of 98.2. The next best showing is made by Rhode Island, where 98 per cent of the people are served by central stations.
The electrical population of the United States is 62,023,400, out of an actual population (last previous census) of 108,148,000, a percentage of 57.3.
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Art Instruction Inc., once located just around the corner from the old Star and Tribune building on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, offered drawing courses by mail for more than a century. Here the Minneapolis Tribune profiles the commercial art school that trained the likes of Charles M. Schulz ("Peanuts") and Carlos de la Vega (who?).
Twenty irate office women appeared before the St. Paul city council today and demanded action. They said their nylons have been damaged by soot in the city's loop. William Parranto, commissioner of public safety, explained that such soot falls from the chimney at Saint Paul hotel. The hotel, he said, burns a Wyoming oil which contains a liberal percentage of sulphur.
It's no wonder that metro newspapers of the 1950s were extremely profitable: They had a virtual monopoly on classified ads, employed kids to deliver their product and had few if any skilled graphic artists on the payroll. Just try to make sense of this 1955 picture-graph from the Minneapolis Tribune. Appearing with a story headlined "Simple Guide to State School Finances," it's most likely a legislative handout hauled back to the newsroom by the beat writer and slapped directly into print.
Another in our series of Minneapolis Tribune stories that include the word "newspaporial."
In a convoy of six jeeps accompanied by a police escort, RCA Victor's Television Caravan rolled into Minneapolis in October 1947. Several hundred spectators packed the Donaldson's department store on Nicollet Avenue to see demonstrations of the new technology. The next year, KSTP became the first TV station in Minnesota to broadcast regularly, beaming 12 to 14 hours of programming a week to about 2,500 television sets in the metro area.