Welcome to You Ask Andy

Delores Coatsp age 10, of Sioux City Iowa 

Who invented fingerprinting?

Are your fingerprints on file with the F.B:I.? If so they are in the biggest and best fingerprint collection in the world, Some 300 million people have pictures of their fingertips in this collection. Most of them of course, are sensible. honest people, The dumb crooks as usual, are in the minority. So unless you lose your good sense and plan a life of crime, you are very lucky to have your fingerprints in the best collection in the world.

Suppose you lost your memory? The F.B.I, would check your fingerprints and have you back with the folks in a jiffy, The same would be true if you got knocked out in an accident. Hundreds of people who get inured or even die among strangers acre identified from these files.

The idea of fingerprinting started long ago. However, it was not worked out as a useful system until modern times. Several people had a hand in perfecting our system.

Ancient kings of the orient often signed orders with a royal thumb print. It was suspected hundreds of years ago that the smudgy designs made by fingers and thumbs were different for every person, This is quite true. Your fingerprints are your very own and nobody else's. You were born with them and they cannot be changed, If the skin is scuffed or even burned the very same prints will grow in again.

It was a Professor Pinking who opened peoples eyes to the usefulness of fingerprinting. In 1823, he read a paper to the University of Breslau. He suggested a way of sorting all the different fingerprints by classifying them in nine groups. The possibilities fascinated a lot of people especially the Fnglish. The idea was developed and improved.

A London draughtsman engraved pictures of two of his fingertips and used these prints to sign his work. Sir Frances Galton developed a more simple system for classifying fingerprints. But the best ideas were worked out in India. There. Sir William Herschel used fingerprinting to identify people Who could not write. E.R. Henry worked with the police to use fingerprinting for catching  fingerprinting for catching crooks.

Crime fingerprinting was started systematically in Bengal, The system was so successful that Henry later became chief of London’s Metropolitan police, Our F.B.I. still use an improved Henry method of fingerprinting,

This system classifies four designs in fingerprints. They are called the arch, the loop, the whorl and the composite. Maybe you can identify some of, these designs in a print of your own, The four types are broken down into numbered sub‑classes. An expert can read off the patterns of a fingerprint. This information is given to a very brainy machine. It flicks through the files until the right one, the only right ones pops out.

Our fingerprinting grew like most good systems. It started as a simple idea, Several people helped to develop the idea into a useful workable system. Countless people are employed all the time to keep our system up to date and working for us.

Category: Article series 1950

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