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Mr. George Mathiot, Chief of Electrotyping and Photography, died suddenly May 31, 1873, when his life was suddenly and unexpectedly ended by the rupture of a large blood-vessel. Mr. Mathiot had charge of the electrotyping and photography of the Coast Survey for more than twenty years; and the great perfection of details and invariable success of the operations were, in a large measure, owing to his untiring zeal and ingenuity in experiment. A description of the electrotyping process, as carried on by the Coast Survey, was given by him in the Coast Survey Report for 1851. The electrotyping process was an outgrowth of electroplating technology. Electrotyping allowed the unlimited reproduction of large engraved copper plates. This in turn, was instrumental in allowing the Coast Survey to reproduce virtually unlimited numbers of charts without destroying the original plate (which could take 3 to 4 years to produce.)

Mr. Mathiot also developed a means in the 1850’s to photographically reduce or enlarge images of hydrographic and topographic field surveys to a desired scale. This was one of the first applications of engineering photography and a step towards automating cartography as this photographic process eliminated the need for draftsmen to painstakingly reduce or enlarge field sheets as required prior to engraving for production of a nautical chart. Mr. Mathiot was a pioneer in image management in the Coast Survey and a pioneer in photo-micrography.

In: Report of the Superintendent of the Coast Survey for 1873. P. 63. Additional information added by Captain Albert E. Theberge, NOAA Corps (ret.)


Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

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