The Mercator Projection
Spreading a whale's body out on a flat sheet is really pretty sophisticated stuff, when you stop and think about it. It was the invention that we credit to Mercator (16th century) for putting a flat map of the globe into the form that we still use most often.
Dear folks -
Steve's mention of Mercator made me do a search or two on his name.
Some of you will be familiar with the sort of thing that I found.
Mercator's projection is most frequently referred to as a mathematical formula and there is, nowadays, a formula that produces it, BUT one of the really remarkable things about Mercator's achievment is that he demonstrated it before Newton, before calculus, and without any complicated calculations. He used only a ruler and compass.
Yes, the Chilkats, with their distributed abstactions of animal images, can be seen the heirs of a pretty sophisticated graphic heritage. But also one originally established using pretty simple tools.
R. John Howe