The "coxcomb" or "rose diagram": Florence Nightingale's most famous infographic (1858)
Florence Nightingale produced the original Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army in the East in late 1858. It showed that most of the British soldiers who died during the Crimean War died of sickness (blue) rather than of wounds or other causes (red or black). It also showed that the death rate was higher in the first year of the war (right half of diagram), before improvements in the treatment of soldiers reduced sickness. She used this diagram to show that we can control epidemic disease - something that was not obvious in her day.
This diagram is often referred to as the "coxcomb", which is historically incorrect because the diagram did not even exist when Florence Nightingale used that word to describe something quite different!
Coxcomb diagram (.tif file, 300 kb)
The graphic presentation of statistical information (Hugh Small's 1998 article)
Did Nightingale's 'Rose Diagram' save millions of lives?. Explores the real impact of the 'coxcomb' or 'rose diagram'.
The 'Lines' Diagram
A less famous diagram that Nightingale published is her 'Lines Representing the Relative mortality ...', which is full of poetry and symbolism, as described in Hugh Small's biography of Nightingale. In the eBook edition, the 'Lines' diagram is digitally reconstructed for the first time, and if you have a colour screen (e.g. with a free Kindle app such as those for the iPad or iPhone) you can see it and the 'coxcomb' in colour (The eBook edition can be downloaded through a link at www.hugh-small.co.uk)