History of Fingerprints

1000 BC

Many different cultures around the world, including ancient Babylon, China, Nova Scotia, and Persia, used fingerprints as signatures for legal purposes.


Professor Marcello Malpigh noticed that the tip of the finger for everyone has noticeable and common loops, ridges, and arches.


The unique ridges on the finger was first noted by Dr. J. E. Purkinje. He discovered nine different patterns that fingerprints could be classified under.


The first identification system by use of fingerprints was created by Sir William J. Herschel. It was also discovered that no two fingerprints were exactly alike.


Francis Galton studied heredity and had a large fingerprint collection. He also established the bureau of civilian registration by using fingerprints. Essentially, it was realized that fingerprints could be used as a form of identification.


Juan Vucetich created first fingerprint identification system for crime investigation. This system would lead to the improvement and expansion of fingerprints used in forensic science.


Fingerprints as a form of identification had expanded across the globe and finally reached the United States. Many states, including New York, adopted the fingerprint system for criminal investigation.


Police began using lasers to detect weak fingerprints.


Technological advancements allowed for the use of technology to collect and store fingerprints. The Automated Fingerprint Identification System was created.