This is the first bar chart ever created. According to Beniger and Robyn (1978) "Playfair was driven to this invention by a lack of data. In his Atlas he had collected a series of 34 plates about the ...
import and export from different countries over the years, which he presented as line graphs or surface charts: line graphs shaded or tinted between abscissa and function. Because Playfair lacked the necessary series data for Scotland, he graphed its trade data for a single year as a series of 34 bars, one for each of 17 trading partners".
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