Cartographies Of Time: A History Of The Timeline, by Daniel Rosenberg and Anthony Grafton, is a history of the visual representation of chronological data. This specialised branch of information graphics has not been studied before, as the authors explain: "little has been written about historical charts and diagrams... This book is an attempt to address that gap." The result is a fascinating, comprehensive, and profusely illustrated history of timelines.
The most impressive timelines featured in Cartographies Of Time are those that attempt to represent the entirety of human history. Joseph Priestley's A New Chart Of History (1769) was one of the first significant examples, followed by Friedrich Strass's Strom Der Zeiten (1804). (Sandra Rendgren's Information Graphics includes Eugene Pick's Tableau De L'Histoire Universelle from 1858, one of several timelines inspired by Strass.)