Revisiting the life and work of Lajos Illyefalvi (1881–1944), the great data chronicler of Budapest

Image for post
Image for post

The statistician Lajos Illyefalvi’s (1881–1944) graphic works are little known even for the Hungarian data visualization community. I want to commemorate his legacy here through three exemplary, and sadly unpaired, monumental, 500-page graphic-only volumes on Budapest, edited by Illyefalvi.


Image for post
Image for post

Sajnos csak pár, ma már alig beszerezhető, kis igényű könyv és néhány szakcikk jelent meg magyarul a témában.

Negyvenöt éve, 1975-ben jelent meg az utolsó magyar nyelvű módszertani kézikönyv(ecske) az adatok grafikus ábrázolásáról a térképész Klinghammer Istvántól. Előtte sem sok. Azért tartom fontosnak összegyűjteni, hogy magyar nyelven mi volt elérhető 1990 előtt a vizualizációkat készítő szakemberek számára, mivel ebből is lehet következtetni arra, hogy milyen tudáskészletből dolgozhattak és milyen ábrázolási típusok, milyen minőségben terjedhettek el Magyarországon. Természetesen ettől még a szakemberek hozzáférhettek angol, francia vagy német nyelvű szakkönyvekhez, mint ahogy Klinghammer is használta Jacques Bertin francia térképész óriási hatású 1967-es Sémilogie Graphique munkáját. …


Image for post
Image for post

The match graph, the target table, and the directional target table by Nemzeti Sport (1922–1942)

A couple of days ago, two of my friends, independently from each other, sent me a graph published by Hungarian sports daily newspaper Nemzeti Sport (National Sport) in 1927. The line graph shows the most important events during the 90-minute football match between Hungary and France on June 12, 1927. Hungary won the match 13 to 1 against France. This was one of the highlights of Hungarian football!


Image for post
Image for post

Beginnings in threefold

The beginnings of information graphics in Hungary can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century, with the most prominent examples closely associated with three major public works. Here they are presented in chronological order:

  1. The regulation and engineering works of the rivers Danube and Tisza from the 1830s
  2. The foundation of the Central Statistical Office and the first independent Census in 1870
  3. The millennial celebrations of the thousand-year-old Hungary in 1896

In some form or other, all three contributed to the emergence of the Hungarian nation during the 19th century, but on the long road of “surveying…


Image for post
Image for post

Cartoons showing charts in the service of communist propaganda in Hungary in the 1950s

As a side-project of my doctoral research on the history of information graphics in Hungary, I was curious about how charts were used in humorous cartoons. Therefore this article focuses on just a short episode on the timeline of Hungarian historic information graphics, but hopefully, in the near future, I will write a series of articles about the topic.

The most popular cartoon of the Communist era was the satirical weekly Ludas Matyi, which was re-launched in 1945 after World War II (the first issue was published in 1867). It had a circulation of around 600,000 copies in its heyday…

Attila Bátorfy

Master teacher and Phd-student of journalism, media and information graphics at ELTE MMI, Budapest. Head of ATLO.Team.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store