I came across this chart showing the historical value of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, starting in 1902 to March 2010.
This chart is a great example of the distortions that are created when an unequal scale is used. The scale showing the average value of the Dow Jones is shown on the right hand side. The increments are wide apart as the value goes up from $31 to $1,000. That rise over 80 years takes half the vertical distance. But then the increments get compressed as the value rises from 1,000 to $10,000 from 1982 to March 2010. This is a dramatic increase but because the scale at the top is so compressed, it does not accurately portray the change. What would it look like if they used equal increments? Would the chart tell a different story?
Here it is in a word document: dow jones average over time
Here is the url: http://stockcharts.com/charts/historical/djia1900.html