On the history of fingerprints as a crime-solving technique
In 1902, a Briton stole some billiard balls. When “fingerprints were found on a newly painted window sill” in the billiard room, they were used to convict him, wrote Richard Case, fingerprint specialist for the National Policing Improvement Agency in South Wales. Case was also an ancestor of the inspector who would first bring fingerprints into British courts.
By the 1920s, fingerprint collection had evolved into an art: “For light objects, use red bronze or Roman gold, which should be lightly applied with an atomizer,” advised J. A. Larson, an American whose early fingerprint-identification system never caught on.
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